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TALES OF A GARRISON TOWN. 



BOOKS BY ARTHUR WENTWORTH EATON. 

TiiK Heart of the Creeds. 
Acadian Legends and Lyrics. 

The Church of England in Nova Scotia .«.. 

i^uvA acoTiA and the Tory 

CI.ERGY OF the RfiVOLrTION. 

Letter Writing, its Ethics and Etiquette. 



BOOKS BY CRAVEN LANGSTROTH BEITS. 

Songs from Beranger. 

The Perfume Holder : A Persian Love Poem. 



3RY 










" He deftly caujjht her by the wrist, wrung the dajfger from her 
hand, and trampled it to bits beneath his feet." 






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from her 



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TALES 



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OF A 



GARRISON TOWN 



BV 



ARTHUR WENTWORTH EATON 



AND 



CRAVEN LANGSTROTH BETTS 



NEW YORK AND ST. PAUL 

T^. I). MERRILL COMPANY 

1892 



liv; 



CoPVmcMT 1899 BV 

ARTHUR WENTWORTH EATON 

AND 

CRAVEN LANGSTROTH BETTS. 



To 

ELIZABETH B. CUSTER, 

OUR GENIAL COMRADE OF THE LITERARY CRAFT. 
WE DEDICATE THESE 

Calc« ot a <3arri0on (Town. 



CONTENTS. 



How Crossaway Betrayed His Friend, 

The Fall of the Darcys, 

The Story of Young Gilsby, 

An Increased Allowance, 

Simpson of the Slashers, 

How Grosvenor got his Church, 

Mrs. Buckingham's Revenge, 

The Reverend Washington Ham's Triumph 

Court-Martialled, 

Too Truthful Spirits, . 

The Corporal's Trousers, 

Touched with the Tar-Brush, . 

Whigs and Tories, 

A Soldier's Funeral, 



I'AGB 
II . 

29 

49 
67 
8x 

'97 
"3 
129 

147 

159 

173 

183 

215 

237 



TALES OF A GARRISON TOWN. 



HOW CROSSAWAY BETRAYED 
HIS FRIEND. 



" So life's year begins and closes, 
Days though short'ning still can shine. 
What though youth gave love and roses. 
Age still leaves us friends and wine." 

— MOORR. 



Tipton was only three-and-twenty when he came 
to Halifax with the Slashers. He had gone into the 
army for no other reason than that of friendship. His 
father was immensely rich and could afford to gratify 
any of his son's whims; and when Jack Crossaway, 
Tipton's old college chum, bought a commission in 
the Slashers, Tipton prevailed on his father to do 
the same for him. Crossaway was three years the 
elder, and had knocked about the world a good deal, 
while his friend had seen little of life outside of 
school and college. When the Slashers left South- 
ampton old Tipton came down from London to see 

his son off. Before the regiment embarked he 

II 



12 



Talcs of a Garrison Town. 



button-holed Crossaway, whom he knew and trusted, 
and asked him to lookout that no designing person 
should get Tip*on, Junior, into his clutches — " for, 
to tell you the truth,'" he said, " Ned's a little fresh 
yet." Crossaway readily promised, and though he 
never told his friend of his colloquy with the old 
gentleman, which would hardly have done, he kept a 
silent watch over Tipton. That young man was not 
exactly inclined to be wild, though he loved fun, 
and there was no telling what he would do under 
a sudden impulse. He had a lively spirit, and the 
knowledge that he had a large bank account at his 
back made him at times rather reckless and impru- 
dent. Crossaway was a thorough soldier, a born 
leader of men. He was over six feet in height, 
splendidly proportioned, and accounted the best 
swordsman in the regiment. He cared little for 
society, but read historical and military works con- * 
tinually, and was so well posted that Colonel Pres- 
ton used to say in confidence that there was no 
officer under his command he would so readily trust 
in an emergency or consult in a difficulty as Cross- 
away. The latter had gained his captaincy at the 
time of the regiment's arrival in Halifax while 
Tipton was still first- lieutenant The reason for 
that was that Crossaway had made a business of his 
profession, for he had joined for life, while Tipton 



Hoiv Crossaivay Betrayed his Friend. 1 3 



had entered the army merely to be with Crossaway, 
and intended leaving ihe service after a few years. 
They continued to be chums however, and Tipton 
often carried his good-natured friend away from his 
studies on junketings around the country, on which 
occasions Crossaway would throw off his graver air 
and be as much of a boy as his friend. Crossaway 
was fond of a hard gallop, and would get up at five 
in the morning for a spin on horseback around the 
North West Arm, and come back to quarters hungry 
as a wolf and glowing like a furnace. Tipton, 
however, was more of a sybarite, and did not like 
early rising. Crossaway did not care a button for 
the fashionable life of Halifax, and mixed with it 

ly on his friend's account, who, it must be ad- 
mitted, was inclined to flirt, for which he had num- 
berless opportunities. In company he was always 
the centre of a circle of young ladies, for the gold 
of the millionaire cast a halo around the head of the 
First-lieutenant. In fact, he divided with Simpson, 
of Company A, and Creighton, the dandy of the 
regiment, a large share of the favor which the girls 
of Halifax bestowed upon the Slashers. 

Crossaway, on the other hand, was a puzzle to 
the fair sex. At times he would be marvellously 
brilliant in conversation, and throw himself heart 
and soul into an apparent effort to please, and then 



U' 



:!l 



H 



Tales of a Garrison Town. 



suddenly would grow as glum and unsociable as 
a Burmese idol. Women who had been delighted 
with him on one occasion left him with despairing 
perplexity or indignant pique at another. One 
could never be sure of him in company, for he never 
took the trouble to be complacent when he did not 
feel like it. Tipton used to say to him jokingly: 
"Jack, if you would only keep up steam, you would 
run away from us all with the women." But Cross- 
away would only smile under his mustache and hum: 

" My heart s in the Highlands, my heart is not here; 
My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer " — 

and then go on reading Napier's "Peninsular 
War," But after a time an incident occurred which 
in no small degree affected the relation of these 
young men to one another. 

There came to Halifax one day a Mrs. Vermilye. 
She was a widow, though quite young — not over 
thirty at most — and beautiful. She had the air and 
look of a well-bred Frenchwoman, though she de- 
clared she was English. Nobody knew her, but let- 
ters which she casually showed from distinguished 
persons abroad, and her evident acquaintance with 
polite society, brought her recognition in the best 
society of Halifax. It was supposed that she was 
wealthy, but nobody knew about that, as Mrs. Ver- 
milye never spoke of her finances. She soon becdme 



How Crossaway Betrayed his Friend, ' 15 



acquainted with the officers of the garrison, one and 
all of whom pronounced her charming. She had 
rooms at the Beverly, and gave delightful little re- 
ceptions, piquantly French in tone. She was a 
slender brunette, with an oval face and dazzling 
black eyes, and a tinge of olive in her complexion, 
and with a beautiful neck and arm, which she took 
no trouble to conceal. 

Now, what must Tipton do but fall head over 
ears in love with Mrs. Vermilye. From the moment 
that he first put eyes upon her he was completely 
captivated. To him she was Rosalind, Ophelia, 
Desdemona, and Imogen in one. He exhausted his 
vocabulary in praising her, raved about her to all 
the garrison, and tired Crossaway to death by singing 
her charms. He haunted the Beverly constantly, 
and spent money lavishly upon his inamorata. 
It took a small fortune to pay his bill at the florist's 
alone. He was a devoted slave to her on all public 
occasions, and nobody could get near Mrs. Vermilye 
without stumbling over Tipton. Crossaway at first 
seemed to take but little notice of the woman; but 
the truth is, he watched her narrowly. Then he 
quietly began to ask questions about her. 

Suddenly Crossaway was seen on the streets with 
Mrs. Vermilye. Then it was rumored that a rivalry 
had sprung up between him and Tipton for the lady's 



i6 



Tales of a Garrison Town, 



favor; and many things occurred to strengthen the 
rumor. Crossaway, the student; Crossaway, the 
nonchalant man of the world; Crossaway, the stern 
soldier, who had always been proof against the 
fascinations of women, was actually attempting 
to cut out his friend, and by appearances seemed 
likely to be successful. 

Tipton at first regarded this move of the Captain's 
as one of his whimsical freaks, but he soon became 
alarmed. Crossaway gained favor rapidly, for he 
exerted all the power of his intellect to shine in 
Mrs. Vermilye's eyes. It was a marvel to see how 
the usually grave and matter-of-fact fellow went on. 
He appeared in high spirits, and his conversation 
became brilliant and witty. Mrs. Vermilye was 
simply overwhelmed, spell-bound by the deferential 
yet daring manner in which Crossaway conducted 
his campaign. As for poor Tipton, he was distanced 
in the race almost from the start. He could no 
longer appear at his best, and whenever Crossaway 
was present, which was now almost always, sulked 
in silence. Mrs. Vermilye at first seemed disposed 
to struggle against this new influence, and still to 
countenance Tipton, but it was of no use. Cross- 
away laughed and talked Tipton down till the latter 
was almost beside himself with vexation and de- 
spair. Gradually, with a burning heart, his soul 



How Crossnivay Betrayed his Friend. 17 



full of bitterness against his former friend, he 
was driven from the field by the victorious Cross- 
away. The inevitable consequences of such a 
rivalry followed, Tipton broke off all communi- 
cation with Crossaway, though the latter strove to 
keep on good terms with him. In fact, one of the 
extraordinary things about the Captain was his im- 
perturbable good humor. Despite his keen compe- 
tition for Mrs. Vermilye's favor, he always treated 
Tipton with consideration and made many friendly 
advances to him. These Tipton put down in his 
account against Crossaway as impudent, barefaced, 
deceitful. At length things reached a crisis. Mrs. 
Vermilye openly cast Tipton off and showed herself 
completely under the influence of his rival. This 
determined Tipton, and he hung moodily about 
quarters waiting for a chance for revenge. 

A pretext for a quarrel soon occurred. The offi- 
cers of the Slashers were to give a dinner, at the 
Halifax Hotel, to one of their comrades who was 
going home to England to be married. It was to 
be a highly convivial affair, and each officer was to 
pledge the would-be Benedict in a bumper of cham- 
pagne and make a congratulatory speech. 

The evening of the dinner all the young officers 
were in high spirits, except Tipton, who sulked, and 
would do nothing to help the thing along, except 



i8 



Tales of a Garrison Town, 



ii 



to pay his quota. The Colonel presided, and the 
dinner went off with great Mai. After a number 
of toasts had been drunk, the Colonel and the Major 
took their overcoats and went home, but the drink- 
ing and speech-making went on. Each of the officers ' 
had to respond in a short speech as his health was 
drunk. Tipton had imbibed freely, tossing off 
glass after glass in a fierce, reckless manner, and 
growing noisier every minute. At length it came 
Crossaway's turn to have his health drunk. Every 
one drank it standing as usual, except Tipton, who 
turned his glass down. " Hang it, Tip, don't be a 
fool!" whispered Addington, who sat on Tipton's 
right: "fill up and drink Jack's health like a man." 
But Tipton never budged. He stared defiantly at 
Crossaway over his upturned glass. The officers of 
the Slashers had been true to one another through 
thick and thin, and, please God, would continue to 
be, Crossaway was saying, when '* You lie!" was sud- 
denly shouted from the other end of the table. All 
eyes were instantly turned on Tipton, who was re- 
garding the speaker with a flushed face and an an- 
gry stare. "Shame! shame!" was heard around the 
board. "The devil. Tip," muttered Addington, 
nudging the Lieutenant in the ribs, 'can't you keep 
your quarrels out of the mess? Shut up, why dont 
you, and let Jack finish his speech." Crossaway's 



How Crossaway Betrayed his Friend. 19 



cheek turned pale, and he paused for a few seconds 
and then went quietly on to a conclusion. Rut Tip- 
ton's angry interruption cast a damper over all. As 
the party broke up, he walked forward to his former 
friend, who was putting on his overcoat. "I will 
meet you, Captain Crossaway," he said, "any time 
or anywhere that may suit your convenience. It 
is not necessary to waste words; we understand each 
other. You may select what weapons you please." 
Crossaway looked at him earnestly for a moment or 
two, then bowed coldly and turned on his heel. 

"The fellow is a coward," saii Tipton, loud 
enough for the Captain to hear. At the last word the 
latter wheeled half round, and a couple of officers 
started forward to prevent a scrimmage, but Crossa- 
way smiled faintly, turned again and walked away. 
"Blast you. Tip! it's a wonder Jack didn't put his 
sword through you for that," grunted Melville, one 
of the interfering officers; "you know blamed well 
that Crossaway is no coward, and why do you try to 
provoke him ? If it came to cold steel, you would 
be but a baby in his hands." 

" Hold your tongue!" retorted Tipton angrily, and 
deigning no further words went off to his quarters. 

The news of the quarrel got abroad and was 
freely commented on. The opinion of most of the 
officers was against Crossaway, though they blamed 



30 



Tales of a Garrison Town, 



r 



Tipton for his intemperate languag^e. But they ex- 
cused him in their hearts on the ground that the 
provocation had been great, and that Tipton had 
drunk too much wine, as had most of them. To 
steal a fellow's girl, they argued, was bad form and 
clearly against the ethics of good comradeship. 
Meanwhile Tipton did not fail, whenever possible, 
to annoy Crossaway by sneers and innuendoes; but 
he did not have much opportunity for these, as the 
Captain studiously avoided him and kept through 
all an impassive countenance. Even the other offi- 
cers began to look with a little contempt on Cross- 
away for not showing some spirit, though nobody 
really believed that he was afraid of Tipton. He 
still continued his visits to Mrs. Vermilye, and a 
report got about that the two were engaged. Tip- 
ton gnashed his teeth and waited his chance. He 
would catch Crossaway alone some time and force 
him to a duel. He practised assiduously with the 
rapier until he was sure he was a match for his rival ; 
then he would slip olit of an evening with a pair of 
rapiers under his surtout and lie in wait for Crossa- 
way. It was some time, however, before he got 
an opportunity for a meeting, for he could not fight 
his enemy in the open streets, and he felt sure that 
Crossaway would carry a challenge straight to 
headquarters. So he waited and watched the Bev- 



Hoiv Crossaway Betrayed his Friend. 21 



erly, intent on forcing the quarrel to an issue as 
soon as possible. 

One afternoon Tipton saw the Captain and Mrs. 
Vermilye leave the hotel for a walk. They took 
the road toward Point Pleasant, and he followed 
them. The couple, after a while, entered the park 
and were lost to view. He hastened on, and again 
saw them moving off toward a little-frequented part 
of the grounds. AVith his brain on fire Tipton, tak- 
ing advantage of the trees, drew close upon them. 
At length he noticed Crossaway halt abruptly and 
make a slight gesture with his hand, at which the 
lady paused also. There seemed to be a surprised, 
perplexed look on her face. The Captain, too, 
for a lover, did not appear to be over-gracious in 
his attention. He stood calmly facing his com- 
panion, with the nonchalance which of old he was 
so much accustomed to assume. Tipton could think 
of nothing but that his hated rival stood before him. 
He unbuttoned his coat and belt, the rapiers in his 
hands. Then he moved almost close enough to 
touch Crossaway with the point of one of the weap- 
ons. He would fight his enemy in the presence of 
the woman who had cast him off. He did not much 
care which should be killed, he or the Captain, but 
he ground his teeth and swore to himself that it 
should be one or the other. He paused for a min- 



22 



Talcs of a Garrison Town, 



si 



r 



ute, however, for the two were talking earnestly, 
and he wanted to get an idea of how far the relations 
between Crossaway and the lady had gone. Mrs. 
Vermilye was speaking. By Heaven, there were 
tears in her eyes! 

" You are very cruel, Captain," she said with trem- 
ulous little gasps, and with that peculiar foreign into- 
nation Tipton had thought so charming. " You have 
forced me for your sake to throw over a young fellow 
who loved me, and now you yourself have suddenly 
turned upon me. I do not know what you mean." 

"Come, come, Mrs. Vermilye; you know you did 
not care a rush for Tipton. It was only the boy's 
money you were after. You have told me so in 
effect a dozen times." 

" But I cared very much for his money, you sim- 
pleton!" said the lady with a return toward her old 
spirit. " I have given the best proof of my regard 
for you by giving it all up when the young fool was 
in my power. All for you, Captain, who are treat- 
ing me now so shamefully. Few other women 
would have made the sacrifice." 

" And few men, perhaps, would have made the 
sacrifice for a friend that I have done," returned 
the Captain quietly. 

"What do you mean?" The lady suddenly 
changed color. 






How Crossaway Betrayed his Friend. 23 



"I mean this, woman. I have been insulted, 
called a liar and a coward by the dearest friend I 
had, for the sake of freeing him from your influence. 
I know your history, Mrs. Vermilye. I have been 
making investigations into your past life, and I find 
you an adventuress of the worst type." 

At these words the face of Mrs. Vermilye grew 
pale as death. If she could have killed Crossaway 
with a look, he would have fallen dead at her feet. 
She threw her right hand up to her breast, which 
was heaving painfully, and as Crossaway 'uttered his 
last word she gave a shrill cry, jerked a small dag- 
ger from her corsage, and quick as a flash sprang 
with it at the Captain. But he deftly caught her by 
the wrist, wrung the dagger from her hand, and 
trampled it to bits beneath his feet. 

She threw herself upon the ground and began to 
weep hysterically. He waited till she had grown 
quieter. 

"You will leave Halifax in twenty-four hours, 
Mrs. Vermilye," said Crossaway in a firm and quiet 
tone. 

She sprang to her feet with an angry countenance. 
"I will not!" she cried vehemently. 

" Very good. Then I will have you indicted for 
forgery, and in less time than that you will be in 
jail. Come, I am inclined to be merciful, for you 



24 



Tales of a Garrison Town, 



are a rather interesting woman despite some tigerish 
propensities. But I must put you beyond the reach 
of further mischief here. You must not come any 
nearer Halifax than New York. I will have you 
shadowed, and on the first breach of faith you will 
be arrested. You see you are absolutely in my 
power. " 

" You are an inhuman wretch!" sobbed the widow. 

" It may be so, but I am a true friend, and you 
were not quite smart enough in your game. Mrs. 
Vermilye, you ruined one good man, but you shall 
not ruin Tipton. Do you consent ?" 

" I cannot help myself. But what guarantee have 
I that you will not continue to persecute me?" 

" The word of a gentleman, which you are not in 
a position to doubt. I care not where you resume 
your operations so long as you leave my friends 
alone. Come, Mrs. Vermilye, we understand each 
other. Let us go back to the hotel. Please take 
my arm, for it is growing dusk and the distance is 
considerable." 

Her face flushed. "I hate you!" she said. "I 
could drive that dagger to your heart with satisfac- 
tion, but you are worth as much more in brains than 
that shallow fool, Tipton, as he is worth in cash 
more than you." 

"You win oblige me by making no reflections," 



(1 



.LL 



Haw Crossaway Betrayed his Friend. 25 

answered the Captain, raising his cap with a defer- 
ential smile. 

She made a spiteful little moue at him, but took 
his arm and they walked off toward the city. 



That evening Captain Crossaway, with a "hot 
Scotch" before him, was writing a letter, when he 
was interrupted by a knock at the door. He opened 
it, and there stood Tipton. 

"Damn it. Jack, forgive me!" said the latter in 
a husky voice, standing motionless in the doorway. 

"Forgive you. Tip? Come in, you rascal!" 
Crossaway's face was radiant. "Hang it, boy! 
don't look so shamefaced. The best of us get fooled 
sometimes, particularly with women. Take old 
Weller's advice. Tip, *bevare of the vidders. ' How 
did you get your eyes opened ?" 

"I heard it all," replied Tipton, looking down. 

"Tip, I wouldn't have believed it of you!" 

" I had a pair of rapiers with me. I was going 
to force you to fight me, so I followed you out. 
What a confounded fool I was!" 

"I see. Poor chap! Don't blubber, for Heaven's 
sake, Tip! I knew it would all come right in the 
end. You're cured, aren't you? No more Mrs. 
^'^enus for Mars, hey? Well, well, I was bitten my- 
self once almost as badly as you have been, and 



26 



Tales of a Garrison Tozvn. 



took longer to find out my mistake; I'll tell you 
about it some day. So you see I can feel for you, 
my boy. Ton my word, Tip, if that woman had 
had a right training, hang me if I wouldn't have cut 
you out in earnest. Begad, sir, I'd have married 
her. She's got brains — plenty of 'em — and a devil- 
ish fine figure. But whew — she's a Tartar! Did 
you see the dagger business? I half-suspected she 
had something of that kind about her. It wasn't 
show; the little vixen meant it. And now we'll 
cement the peace with a good glass of hot whiskey. 
Come, Tip, drink to the health of Mrs. Vermilye, 
and may she have a safe and pleasant journey to 
New York!" 

Crossaway filled his friend a bumper of the smok- 
ing liquor and drew a chair to the table. Tipton 
sat down and grasped Crossaway's outstretched 
hand. For a minute the two men looked at each 
other; then they touched glasses and drank to Mrs, 
Vermiiye's health. 



I 



t 



'ux. 



el I you 
or you, 
m had 
ive cut 
larried 
devil- 
Did 
■d she 
i^asn't 
we'll 
skey. 
lilye, 
2y to 



THE FALL OF THE DARCYS. 



rM 



i> i 



i 



(I 



Ml 



I 






THE FALL OF THE DARCYS. 



*' Down the old house goc« ! " 

— E. C. Stedman. 



The lines of social distinction are nowhere more 
arbitrarily drawn than in English garrison towns. 
This is certainly true of Halifax. Its first families 
have always been as secure in their superiority to 
common humanity as the English nobility them- 
selves. In pride that distinguished gentleman, 
Lucifer himself, could not have excelled the Darcys. 
The family was launched into greatness in Sir John 
Wentworth's time, its founder, a handsome young 
fellow, having enjoyed the favor of His Royal 
Highness the Duke of Kent when that distin- 
guished personage held his court at the Prince's 
Lodge, near Bedford; and having been honored with 
the especial notice of the Duke's companion, the 
vivacious Madame de St. Laurent. 

This man became a successful merchant, and before 
his death amassed a large fortune, which, descend- 
ing to his children and grandchildren, enabled them 
to live quite as people of such distinguished ancestry 

should have lived, with butlers, coachmen, footmen, 

29 



30 



Tales of a Garrison Town, 



\\ it 



cooks and valets innumerable. For the latest Dar- 
cys there was indeed almost, no society in Halifax 
good enough. Only the officers of the army and 
navy were considered by them at all worthy of full 
social recognition. That old and very respectable 
visitor, Death, would have been tolerated only by 
reason of his complete insensibility to slights. If 
there was any one's door he would have been afraid 
to enter, it surely would have been theirs. Yet 
when they deigned to unbend they could be most 
agreeable, and could dispense hospitality in a gra- 
cious and lordly way. Their family arms were 
stamped on all their possessions, from lodge-gates 
to table-napkins. Their coach was decorated with 
the familiar heraldric device. I am not sure but 
that their wine-cellar contained eighteenth-century 
Burgundy and Johannisburg. And yet, with the 
force of their favorite tradition behind them and 
with the possession of large wealth to lift them 
above "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune," 
they were destined to meet with a " sea of troubles," 
against which they would be unable successfully to 
take arms. After the death of Mr. Howard Darcy, 
who had increased the family fortune by a large 
and lucrative shipping and commission business, the 
property was divided among a number of sons, all 
of whom kept up in their respective households the 



The Fall of the Darcys. 



31 



same lavish expenditure as their father before them 
had done. Mr. Archibald Darcy, the second son, 
inherited the old family mansion, and shortly after 
coming of age married the daughter of an English 
barrister, named Carstairs, who was more exclu- 
sive even than the family into which she had mar- 
ried. There was but one child from this union, a 
daughter named Ethel, for whom her parents in- 
tended a distinguished career. She was carefully 
educated abroad, and though of a sweet and charm- 
ing disposition, inherited not a little of the family 
pride. After her return from boarding-school, she 
met one evening at a party a young bookkeeper, 
named John McPherson, the son of respectable 
Scotch parents in Prince Edward Island. But the 
blind archer, who is ever upsetting the plans of cut- 
and-dried wisdom and running us counter to our 
prejudices and traditions, was unluckily also present, 
with his arrow at the bent. Ethel and John McPher- 
son at first sight were mutually attracted, and the 
pride of the Carstairs' and Darcys threatened to be- 
come but a paper shield between them and the ple- 
beian McPhersons. The young man was a bright fel- 
low, in every way worthy except that he was not in the 
Darcys' set. But when he ventured to call on Ethel 
at her father's house he saw only Mrs. Darcy, who 
sent him off with what is popularly known as " a flea 



32 



Talcs of a Garrison Town, 



in his ear." Ethel was strictly enjoined under no 
ci:cumstances to recognize Mr. McPherson again, 
and as she had been taught always totegard the 
family view of things as law, she tearfully assented. 

Young McPherson was a lad of spirit. He took 
every convenient opportunity to meet Ethel, and 
persistently followed up his suit, until the irate fa- 
ther threatened to horsewhip him. Ethel, becom- 
ing alarmed, sent him a note begging him as a 
gentleman to cease his attention, and saying that 
she had irrevocably decided to obey her parents. 
This was a floorer tb puor McPherson, who moped 
a good deal at first, then packed his trunk for New 
York, where he had an uncle in business, and so 
was seen no more in Halifax. 

But the Darcys began to lose money. Mr. Ar- 
chibald invested in speculations and lost a great 
deal of his property. An expensive lawsuit further 
wasted it, and his growing habits of dissipation did 
the rest. The other branches of the family were 
almost equally unfortunate. After eight years of 
reckless expenditure and bad business management 
Mr. Darcy died, insolvent. The famous old family 
mansion, in which four generations of the Darcys 
had lived and died, was sold under the hammer, and 
was bought in by a Halifax lawyer for a client in 
New York, who intended it for a summer residence. 



The Fall of the Darcys. 



33 



After the sale the lawyer called upon Mrs. Darcy, 
and said that as his client did not want then to take 
possession he had offered to let her remain in the 
house, not caring either to have it lie empty or be 
occupied by people who might deface it and injure 
the grounds. The lawyer further said that the 
owner prescribed no conditions, and that Mrs. Darcy 
would be free to come and go as she pleased, and to 
use the property as if it were still her own. 

Mrs. Darcy's haughty head was thrown back, and 
all her pride flashed in her eyes as she looked at the 
lawyer. 

"You may tell your client," she said with frigid 
emphasis, " that my daughter and I can accept noth- 
ing from him; that his offer is highly impertinent," 
and she bowed the astonished lawyer out of the room. 

But pride will rarely content the butcher and 
baker — two individuals of a dreadfully democratic 
♦stripe who may be kept in the background when 
money is plenty, but who always come to the front 
when money is scarce. The Halifax butcher and 
baker and their brother tradesmen were more in- 
exorable than even the pride of the Darcys, and 
the claims of long descent were of little account 
in satisfying the claims of present necessity. Mrs. 
Darcy and Ethel, with sorrowful hearts, packed their 
now slender belongings and set out for New York, 
3 



34 



Talcs of a Garrison Town. 



where they had a number of relations. These, in 
lime of the Darcys' prosjH'rity, had received individ- 
ually and collectively the cold shoulder, and they 
therefore did not now welcome the mother and 
daughter with any extravagant enthusiasm. The 
snubs long ago given were in some instances re- 
turned, and they told. Mrs. Darcy got back with 
full interest all the slights she had put upon her 
humbler relatives. In dudgeon she stopped com- 
munication with them all, and the big modern 
IJabylon swallowed her and her daughter. They 
drifted into a (luarter where decayed respect- 
ability still held a serried front against in- 
vading Jews and Italians. It is not necessary 
to enter into a detailed account of their hard- 
ships. Piece by piece their jewelry went, their fine 
clothes wore out, and they came down to what is 
known as "hard-pan." Whatever they could get to 
do they did. They copied manuscripts, they ad- 
dressed envelopes, they sewed at all kinds of arti- 
cles, from a baby's shirt to a stage-curtain. Their 
view was bounded on one side by a dusty street and 
on the other by a paved court usually fdled with 
drying clothes. " Croton" regaled them instead of 
" Johannisburg," and meat twice a week became a 
luxury. It was tough, but human nature has great 
staying qualities. It is wonderful how easily ne- 



wi 



The Fall of the Darcys. 



35 



cessity teaches us to adapt ourselves to circum- 
stances. 

One clay they saw an advertisement in a paper for 
a decorative painter on china. Ethel had a natural 
j;ift for such work and had been well trained in it; 
l)iit the women, ignorant how to seek such employ- 
niLMt, had hitherto been unsuccessful in obtaining it. 
Mrs. Darcy answered the letter for her daughter, with 
little hojie of a favorable reply. To her surprise 
and joy an answer was returned, requesting Ethel 
to call at a well-known establishment in Broadway. 

Mrs. Darcy, who always conducted the outside 
business, as she wished to shield her daughter from 
the world of trade, entered the office of the firm with 
a fast-beating heart. A. tall, bearded man received 
her and respectfully handed her a chair. The busi- 
ness was entered into and a commission was readily 
obtained, the terms of payment being surprisingly 
liberal. The man appeared a little constrained, and 
once or twice glanced at her keenly. At first she 
paid little attention to this, but finally his answer 
to one of her questions rather startled her. She had 
asked, for future reference, his name. He hesitated 
a moment, and then said, looking at her squarely, 
"John McPherson." If he had said " Mr. McPher- 
son" or " McPherson" she might not have noticed 
his significant tone, but " John McPherson" recalled 



36 



Tales of a Garrison Toivn. 



Ethel's old lover to her mind in an instant. She 
looked sharply at him, and felt sure that it was he — 
only, of course, bearded and grown older-looking. 
Their eyes met in mutual recognition, yet neither 
spoke a word. Eight years, insult, and family 
pride lay between them. Mrs. Darcy's color rose 
and she turned to the door. Mr. McPherson opened 
it with ceremonious politeness. She bowed as 
haughtily as in the proudest day of her prosperity 
and walked away. 

Ethel was overjoyed at the new employment. She 
had been ailing and was pale and thin, but this con- 
genial work brightened her amazingly. Her mother, 
however, had far different feelings. She hated to 
go back to Burgess and Company's. " Why ?" asked 
Ethel. 

"He — the manager there — is not a gentleman," 
snapped her mother. 

"What is his name?" 

Her mother did not answer the question. She 
said she would try and get Ethel work at some of 
the other chin^-stores. Ethel said no more, but re- 
solved to go herself to Burgess and Company's and 
relieve her mother of a distasteful duty. Her mother, 
however, insisted on taking the plates back herself. 
"Better I than you," was the only reason she would 
give to Ethel. 



The Fall of the Darcys, 



37 



Mrs. Darcy came back with an increase of pay. 
"The man evidently thinks we are paupers," she said 
pettishly, throwing the money into Ethel's lap. 
" He insisted on paying double — said that the work 
was so good that he could not offer less. It is a 
mere pretence to put us under obligation." 

This speech of her mother's puzzled Ethel. The 
unknown man who paid so liberally, and yet was no 
gentleman, excited her curiosity. "Well, mother," 
she said, "you know I do paint well, and I did the 
plates very carefully. I really believe they were 
better done than those that most china-artists do." 
Her mother only said, "I don't want to go back 
again if I can help it." 

The next day Ethel quietly put on her hat and 
went to Burgess and Company's. She had a good 
excuse, for her mother was not feeling well. The girl 
was shown into the manager's office, but that person 
had just gone out. She wished she had asked for 
his name, and was about to question a clerk, when 
the manager himself entered. Ethel glanced up and 
their eyes met. There w is an eager, expectant look 
in the man's face, and in an instant she recognized 
him. It was all she could do not to betray her sur- 
prise. The blood of the Darcys flew to her face, 
and then left it paie again, but her family pride 
rallied to her aid. He should not think that she 



38 



Talcs of a Garrison Town. 






was come there to beg a favor of him. Each felt 
the position keenly, but neither made a sign of rec- 
ognition. Ethel strove to look calmly past his 
shoulder. As he waited for her to speak she said: 
" I have come here for more plates, in place of Mrs. 
Darcy." 

McPherson bowed without a word. She saw by 
a side-long glance that he bit his lip, and that his 
brow darkened. "Is your mother ill?" he asked 
after a pause. 

" Mrs. Darcy is not very well to-day." 

He said no more, but went and selected the plates 
with his own hands, brought them into the office, 
and carefully wrapped them in paper. She put out 
her hands to take them, but he said: " I will send 
a boy with these to your house. They are too 
heavy for you." He was looking at her pale cheeks 
and the thinness of her hands. 

"Thank you," she said simply, without looking 
at him, and bowed slightly as she stepped out of 
the office. 

The boy trotted along by her side carrying the 
plates. 

"How do you like Mr. McPherson?" she asked 
of him. 

" How do I like him? He's a daisy! He minds 
his business and lets you mind yours. I've always 



i 



The Fall of the Darcys. 



39 



found him as square as a nail," said Young America, 
shifting his burden to the other arm. 

Ethel smiled. "But is he kind and pleasant?" 

"Yes, miss, that's his failin'. He's too all-fired 
kind. Lets all the old men and women beggars 
gull him. He's soft as a girl. I'd clear 'em out 
quick. An' they say he's awful learned and writes 
for the papers. I've seen some of it, but I can't 
make it out. Give me a bully story — that's what I 
like." 

" Is — is he married ?" 

"Oh, no, miss! I heard his uncle — him as owns 
the store — say somethin' about his gettin' spliced; 
but Mr. McPherson he only half laughed and said 
he hadn't got- any time. But I guess that's all 
blow. I know I would if I was him." 

"Indeed! and who would you marry?" 

"You, miss," answered the audacious urchin with 
a sly grin. 

"Come, sir, don't be impertinent," said the young 
lady severely, with a quicker step and a heightened 
color. 

"You asked me, and why shouldn't I answer?" 
grumbled the boy. 



" Mother," said Ethel, as she entered, "how do 
you feel ?" 



' i 



I I 



I i 



40 



Ta/es of a Garrison Town. 



"Better, thank you, Ethel. Where have you 

been ?" 

"To Burgess and Company's." 

"And you carried back all those plates?" 

" No. Mr. McPherson sent a boy to the door 

with them. Isn't it strange to meet him there ?" 
"Then you renewed acquaintance with him, 

Ethel ?" asked her mother sharply. 

"No; I did not give him any chance to recognize 



me. 



Quite right! You must not go there again, 
Ethel." 

It was Ethel's turn to say nothing. 

Mrs. Darcy grew worse again that evening. Two 
days elapsed before Ethel could take back any of 
the new plates she had painted. 

She met Mr. McPherson, and they bowed cere- 
moniously to each other. 

"Is Mrs. Darcy still ill?" he inquired. 

"Yes, sir." 

" Worse ?" 

"Somewhat worse, I think." 

McPherson did not answer, but his brow con- 
tracted. He evidently wished to say something 
more, but Ethel's repellant manner deterred him. 
He showed her out with as much ceremony as at her 
first visit, but there seemed a compassionate gentle- 



I 



The Fall of the Darcys. 



41 



ness in his manner not apparent before. The sense 
of it set her cheeks in a flame. She hurried away 
lest he should observe her embarrassment. 

That evening, while Mrs. Darcy was sleeping, there 
came a rap at the door, and a basket of fruit and 
other delicacies was handed in. 

"This is not for us?" said Ethel to the grocer's 
boy. 

"Yes, 'tis, miss. The gentleman give p'tic'lar 
d'rections." 

" Did he send his name?" 

"No, miss." 

" You may take these back ; we do not want 
them." 

"Can't, miss; my boss 'ud be mad. 'Sides, I got 
a lot o' other things to deliver. Can't carry these 
all 'round this time o' night." 

"Very well. Leave them here." 

Next day she called at Burgess and Company's. 

" Here are the rest of the plates," she said. She 
paused, and then added with a flush on her cheek: 
"There came a basket of fruit to us last night; I 
presume we have to thank you for it." 

He smiled. " How is Mrs. Darcy to-day?" 

"She is not any better, I am sorry to say." 

" May 1 send my physician — a very excellent one, 
I can assure you ?" he asked somewhat diffidentl) , 



42 



Tales of a Garrison Toivn, 



" No, thank you. I do not think she needs one 
yet." 

" May I not send around to-ni.i^ht to see if any- 
thing is wanted?" 

"Please do not trouble yourself," she answered a 
little haughtily, and walked off. 

She had not gone ten steps before she repented of 
her words. She came back and said, with a slight 
effort and in a low tone, " I beg your pardon, sir. 
I do not wish to appear rude or ungrateful. I believe 
there is nothing you can do for us." 

l-Tcr own words seemed to strike back upon her. 
T'lc "lemjry of all the misery she and her mother 
had end'i"':^''! for the last year rushed upon her and 
t;»ok 'hj s. tijrth out of her. She sat down and 
buried her face in her hands. The tears trickled 
from between her fingers, but she made not a sound. 
There was perfect stillness in the little room. It 
was anguish to be humiliated in this way before 
him, but for the life of her she could not restrain 
her tears. Suddenly a light, timid touch fell upon 
her shoulder. The sobs that she had kept back till 
that moment, at the touch of his hand, shook her 
uncontrollably, and with a streaming face she made 
an effort to rise and hide her mortification. But he 
took her two hands tenderly and drew her toward 
him. 



The Fall of the Darcys. 



43 



"Ethel," he said. Gentle reproach, uiulying 
love, all those longf years of waiting, struck in that 
one word to her heart. She raised her eyes to his 
face with the trust and adoration of a saved soul to 
its benefactor, and he clasped her to his breast. 



It was June, the latter part of June — the time 
when, in these days, summer tourists crowd into the 
old rusty, rock-based capital of the Acadian province 
by the sea. The tall flag-staff of the citadel stood 
like a bare ship's mast against the star-lit sky. The 
echoes of the sunset-gun that every native Haligonian 
has heard each day since he was born had long 
ceased, and the gas-lights on Granville and HoUis 
Streets flared and flickered in the soft breeze that 
blew up the narrow side streets from the dingy 
wharves. On the wharf of the Cromwell Line a 
mixed crowd were watching the red lights of the 
New York steamer as she moved up past George's 
Island to her weekly landing-place. Nearer and 
nearer came the puff of the engine and the plunge 
of the paddles, until the ghostly outline was close 
upon them. On deck, a little way removed from 
the throng of passengers, were three persons — a 
young couple, who stood arm in arm, and a tall, 
elderly woman, with marks of recent sorrow and 
sickness on her face. In a few minutes they had 



44 



^'"'' "^ " (^"rrison To-^n. 



'anded. and entering one of .h 
-"o- clamorous Jehus vZtl "'""'"^'"'= ""^ 
reamer, were rapidly <lrive„ rr ^'"*'"'"^ "^ 'he 
-•'^ «-ed past 'he wi do: , ''''"= "^'"^ "' "•«= 
^« - went the cab. Wh" T ""=" '^^' '>«'""''. 
^^c'^imed the younger wol ' "" ^°'"^' J"""'" 
darkness. " We are cer"""' T'"" "^ '"'" '"« 
'"«^'- Are you sure t J' '"""^ "^^ P-t the 
^'>;' ?" "" ""^ ^"'^'"an understood 

""l^e.?, Ethel," saiV! t i 
there.- ' "''' J""" l-etly; 'Ve are just 

At that moment the cah f 

shadow of a narrow, overah."?"" '"'" '"« "^^p 
either Mrs n= "^^^arched driveway and h.f 

™>-s. Darcy or Ethel hnri ,• '"'^"™ 

""""•on, tl,e briliian.J' 7, '■'"''•' ''^''another 
"'f "ome confronted them ' ""''"^^ °^ "'-> 

"«-ause,"said7oh 'wt"' "''^^^^" 
/-Oey went up ,,, ,; J ;;;"-- hou.se." 

"^w open, and old Simon tlT>'' '"'"■''°°'- 

l^'vering With emotion Cr ""*"' ^°-e 

"^'esstheLord-th'n? °""''"'^■"• 
-47.;hee.claimed'i::,:^----'o 



The hall of the Darcys. 



45 



mahogany furniture flashed back from its rich polish 
the blaze of the light fire that had been kindled for 
their reception. The family portraits looked down 
their welcome from the walls. The sideboard glit- 
tered with the ancient Darcy plate. Even Brian, 
the great mastiff, Ethel's old companion, from whom 
she had parted with bitter tears, and whose care she 
had unwillingly committed to the family of a gar- 
dener on the place, sprang up to meet them, his in- 
telligent eyes gleaming with joy. 

Ethel turned, the tears streaming down her cheeks. 
"You dear old John!" was all she said, as she flung 
her arms around his neck and kissed him passion- 
ately. 

Mrs. Darcy stood for a minute with her back to 
the young couple. Then she turned, and with a 
voice whose tremor she strove vainly to conceal, 
said slowly, with an air of blended pride and humil- 
ity: "John McPherson, you are well revenged!" 



V.'l 



THE STORY OF YOUNG GILSBY. 



THE STORY OF YOUNG GILSBY. 



*' What a stranKc thinK is man ! 
And what a stranKt'r in woman ! 
What a whirlwind is her htad 
And what a whirlp<M)l, full of depth and dan^^cr, 
Is all the rest about her ! " 

— HVRON. 

" When a pretty woman Inii^^hs, it is certain that a purse complaini."— 
Italian Pkovekii. 

The Slashers having left Halifax for Bermuda, 
their place was taken by the Derby Rifles, who had 
recently been sent aome from Capetown. A young 
South African, named Gilsby, had accompanied them 
from the Cape to England, and then to Halifax. He 
was the son < a rich and prosperous ostrich-breeder 
who had recently died and left his property to the 
young man, who had thus become sole heir to a con- 
siderable business. In Africa young Gilsby had 
made the acquaintance of a number of the officers 
of the Derby Rifles, and so strong was his regard 
for them that when the regiment was ordered home 
he resolved to accompany them. He sold the os- 
trich-farm at a sacrifice, and, with all his property 
converted into cash, went forth with a joyful heart 

to see the world. When the Rifles reached Halifax 
4 49 



U I 



50 



Talcs of a Garrison Toivn. 



I 



Gilsby put up at the Halifax Hotel, occupying two 
of its best rooms. There never was a fellow more 
bent on enjoying life than Gilsby. He gave suppers 
to the officers of the army and navy and the men 
about town, grew wildly intoxicated with the social ' 
gayeties of the civilians, and entered into cricket 
and tennis with the zest of a neophyte. In short, 
all was fish, in the way of pleasure, which came to 
Gilsby's net. He was a fair musician, a very good 
amateur actor, and did some excellent shooting, in 
which latter accomplishment he had had splendid 
practice in South Africa. A fortunate star seemed 
to have shone on Gilsby's birth, for he was twenty- 
three, good-looking, wealthy, and had not a care in 
the world. Under such conditions most people im- 
agine they could enjoy life. So did Gilsby. But 
we shall see. 

Just three months before the Derby Rifles came 
to Halifax, a lady had put up at the Halifax Hotel — 
a Mrs. Lydia Buckingham, the grass-widow of an 
attachd oi the British Legation at Washington. The 
uncertainty of her matrimonial relations, together 
with one or two rumors of a somewhat compromis- 
ing sort regarding her, kept the most respectable 
people of Halifax from calling upon Mrs. Bucking- 
ham. She was, however, a general favorite with 
the fashionable men of the town and the officers of 



The Story oj Young Gilsby. 



51 



the Rifles. Never since the disappearance of Mrs. 
Vermilyefrom Halifax had one woman been so con- 
stantly the theme of conversation as was she. The 
two women, however, were entirely unlike. While 
Mrs. Vermilye was dark, slender, and vivacious, 
Mrs. Buckingham was a generous blonde, with a 
bust like Juno's and a carriage stately as 1 iana's. 
Her large brown eyes wore the most innocent ex- 
pression possible, and her movements were usually 
deliberate, often languid. She looked like a Saxon, 
but a certain richness of tint in the gold of her hair, 
the lithe grace of her step, the pungency and em- 
phasis of her speech, and the occasional flash of her 
eye indicated Southern blood. It was said that her 
mother had been a Spaniard, married to an English 
wine-merchant; but this was not certainly known. 
Mrs. Buckingham hardly ever referred to any part 
of her past life, except to the time she had spent in 
Washington. 

Though the character of this lady was regarded 
as a little shady, she took good care to give gossip 
no real cause for accusation. No one could lay 
finger on a single act of hers which could be con- 
sidered compromising, so skilfully did Mrs. Buck- 
ingham manage herself. She could never have been 
taken in as was Mrs. Vermilye in the affair with * 
Captain Crossaway, of the Slashers. She was too 



52 



Tales of a Garrison Toivn. 



«i| 



ill 



able and calculating for that. She was a strange 
combination of opposites, and in that lay her power 
over men. She could talk politics intelligently (the 
highest test of a woman's ability), drink champagne 
without losing her head, smoke cigarettes like a 
Cuban, and ride horseback with a grace and a dash 
that any woman might have envied. She wore a 
wide-brimmed Gainsborough hat with a large swirl- 
ing ostrich-feather, which set off admirably her bold, 
handsome features. Her stately figure was always 
robed in plain, soft materials, that draped to advan- 
tage. Then, too, whatever might have been the 
superiority of their morals, the women of Halifax 
could claim no intellectual superiority over Mrs. 
Buckingham. It was not to be wondered at, there- 
fore, that she was a great favorite with the men 
and not especially adored by the women. 

Gilsby was not three days at the Halifax Hotel 
before he was on intimate terms with Mrs. Buck- 
ingham. She fascinated him at once, though she 
took no pains to conceal her contemptof his mental 
abilities. She laughed at him before his face and 
behind his back, teased him unmercifully, and 
when he rebelled at such treatment, used him like a 
spoiled child, and sent him on some of her errands. 
It was marvellous to see the bold and confident sway 
she held over him. In her presence he was as sub- 



The Story of Young Gilsby. 



53 



missive as a lap-dog. Nothing was too much for 
him to do for her. The more money he spent upon 
her the more infatuated he grew. He bought her a 
phaeton and a span of black ponies to draw it. He 
hired a villa for the summer at Bedford, furnished 
it elegantly, and spent a fortune upon the grounds, 
that Mrs. Buckingham might have a country resort. 
He even had a yacht built expressly for her. If 
Gilsby had had a Fortunatus' purse, he would have 
taxed it to the utmost to supply Mrs. Buckingham's 
fancies. But though that lady might in some sense 
have resembled Danae, Gilsby did not in the least 
fill the role of Jove. A more hopeless infatuation 
was never seen. In vain his friends attempted to 
open his eyes. Gilsby, like a hashish-eater, could 
only view his situation through the lens of a disor- 
dered imagination. He threw counsel to the winds 
and plunged recklessly into fresh excesses. He fud- 
dled himself daily with drink and prostrated his 
slender intellect at the feet of his Circe, who calmly 
and smilingly pursued her relentless course. The 
knowledge that she despised him only made the 
wretched youth the more desperate. People began 
to wonder what would be the outcome of all this. 

The end came soon enough for Gilsby. The 
fortune of the South African ostrich-farmer melted 
like snow under an April sun, and as it disappeared 



54 



Tales of a Garrison Town. 



..,i 



■t.\ 



If t 



*) 



Mrs. Buckingham grew still more splendid and al- 
luring. Her Gainsborough hat now carried a dia- 
mond buckle to fasten down the sweeping ostrich- 
plumes. Her cloak was beautifully embroidered 
and edged with the richest thread lace. Bracelets 
of heavy, antique design and glittering with jewels 
adorned her arms. An aigrette of pearls and dia- 
monds sparkled nightly in her hair. " She looked 
a goddess and she moved a queen," while Gilsby, 
the source of all this efflorescence, would sit gaping 
in ecstasy at the splendid idol he had set up, who 
condescended to give him the crumbs of her gracious 
consideration. But this sort of thing could not last 
forever. One day Gilsby awoke to the conscious- 
ness that he was ruined. He had gone to the bank 
to draw out money for a large garden-party which he 
was about to give to his friends at the Bedford villa in 
honor of Mrs. Buckingham. He found that he had 
barely two hundred pounds left to his credit. He 
went home dazed. The money had seemed such a 
large amount when he left Africa, he had acquired 
it so easily, that he fancied it well-nigh inexhaustible. 
He wondered how it could have slipped through his 
fingers. Somebody, surely, must have cheated him. 
He tried to reckon up his expenses, but his brain 
became confused. It was useless now to calculate, 
and he gave up the attempt. What in the name of 



The Story of Young Gilsby. 



55 



Heaven was he to do when his two hundred pounds 
was gone? He knew nothing of business, and he 
had no friends whom he could ask for money. The 
garden-party must come off, however, happen what 
might. What was two hundred pounds to a man 
who had no more? Let it go with the rest. It 
would afford him one royal day's sport and give 
Mrs, Buckingham a chance to shine more splendidly 
than ever. She carried a little too much dash for a 
drawing-room, but at a garden-party she would be 
supreme. But after that — what? He looked up 
significantly at a pair of ornamental Turkish pistols 
crossed above the mantel. Then he went out and 
set about preparing for his party. 

Gilsby laid out his two hundred pounds. All his 
military friends were present on the occasion. 
There was also a good sprinkling of civilians, but 
the best sort of women were conspicuous by their 
absence. Mrs. Buckingham was resplendent. She 
came dressed as Diana, with bow and quiver, a silver 
crescent above her brow. Her Greek costume of 
soft white cashmere edged with gold fell gracefully 
around her shapely form and left bare her molded, 
tapering arms and magnificent neck and throat. 
Her eyes sparkled with animation, and the current 
of her speech flowed with many a ripple of laughter, 
many a glittering bubble of wit. She was unusually 



1.1 



s« 



Tales of a Garrison Town, 



! I 



gracious to Gilsby, complimented him on his good 
taste, and affectionately patted his cheek. The 
moth even with his wings gone was fascinated by the 
flame which had scorched him. When the supper- 
hour arrived, Gilsby, in an ecstasy of delight, es- 
corted Mrs. Buckingham to her seat at his right 
hand. The tables under the trees glittered with 
plate and cut-glass and were loaded down with every 
obtainable luxury. The branches were hung with 
hundreds of Chinese lanterns, whose variegated 
lights illumined the cut-glass goblets, filled with 
amber or ruby-colored wine, with ten thousand points 
of fire. The scene was like a Midsummer Night's 
Dream or a banquet in Fairy-land. It rivalled in 
effect the lavish splendors of the" Arabian Nights." 
The guests were in flutter of surprise and delight. 
"Superb!" "What a bold conception!" "Our 
host has outdone himself," were some of the enthu- 
siastic criticisms heard on all sides. And, like a 
veritable Queen of Revels, supreme amid the glit- 
ter and festivity, sat Mrs. Buck ugham in her Diana 
robe, the silver crescent nodding above her brow, 
while the shuttle of her speech traversed the web of 
conversation with sparkling threads of wit. Never 
in Halifax had such an entertainment been more 
daringly conceived or successfully carried out. Con- 
gratulations were showered upon Gilsby, He was 



B grr i T ii jTini w i i ii i i i nir *t» 



iwi — mn i '* w ww 



h's good 
-*^- The 
'd by the 

supper- 
jght, es- 
is right 
ed with 
th every 
^g with 
'egated 
d with 
points 
fight's 
led in 
fhts. " 

jght. 

'Our 
rathu- 

ke a 
gl it- 
ana 

ow, 
t> of 

ver 

ore 

)n- 

^as 







P ' ,A', 






'^■t.,\v 



r 



v\\i\ 



" lie rose to his feet, flusheil and excited, and pledjjed Mrs. 
Buckingham in a bumper of champagne." 



The Story of Young Gilshy, 



59 



the Napoleon of good fellows, the Haroun-Al-Ras- 
chid of garden-parties. He was wafted by adulation 
into a seventh heaven of delight. He rose to his 
feet, flushed and excited, and pledged Mrs. Bucking- 
ham in a bumper of champagne. The supper went 
off with great Mat^ and the festivities were kept 
up until late in the evening. Gilsby drove Mrs. 
Buckingham home. He was in reckless high spirits 
all the way, for the glamour of the evening was still 
upon him. But as they neared the hotel his gay- 
ety suddenly gave way to a fierce and hard manner. 
He whipped the horses furiously and drew them up 
foaming and panting at the hotel entrance. He 
followed Mrs. Buckingham to her parlor, shut the 
door quietly, then turned the key and put it in his 
pocket. Mrs. Buckingham noticed the action and 
looked at Gilsby. She saw with the quick eye of a 
woman of the world that there was something dan- 
gerous in his mind. He was nervous and excited, 
and his eye had a furtive, uneasy look. " Sit down," 
she said quietly, and herself dropped into a chair. 
" I am tired. What a day we have had, to be sure! 
Thanks to you, my friend!" 

Gilsby did not answer a word, but shifted his po- 
sition on the chair and cast a strange glance at 
Mrs. Buckingham, while his fingers twitched ner- 
vously. The lady grew uneasy and turned up the 



6o 



Tales of a Garrison Town, 



!! 



, 1 



i i 



gas. " You have overdone yourself, too," she said 
carelessly, though she darted a covert look at the 
young man. " I would advise you to go to bed and 
get a good night's sleep." Still Gilsby did not an- 
swer. His eyes had grown bloodshot, and for one 
so young his face looked old and haggard. He 
muttered something to himself and rose slowly to 
his feet. His right hand was in the pocket of his 
overcoat, and he looked at Mrs. Buckingham across 
the centre-table with a fixed, dogged expression. 
"Do you know," he said in a hoarse, unnatural 
voice, "what I have come here to do? I am going 
to end this little game now. A precious lot of sat- 
isfaction I have got for all the money I've spent. I 
tell you, woman, every cent I was worth in the world 
is gone, and you've had it, and you've used me like 
a dog through it all! Now I'm of no more use to 
you, and I suppose I may take my congt^. I can 
go shoot or drown myself, for all you care. Is that 
the word? Very well; but why should I face the 
consequences alone? Why should I let you enjoy 
my money with that new chap you seemed so taken 
with to-night? Yes, I'm jealous if you like — jeal- 
ous, ruined, desperate! The jig's up, Mrs. Buck- 
ingham;" and he drew a six-shooter from his pocket, 
cocked it, and pointed it at her breast. Mrs. Buck- 
ingham turned deathly pale, though she never 



mmm 



The Story of Young Gilsby, 



6i 



i 



flinched, as Gilsby stood with his finger on the trig- 
ger staring at her with wild eyes. She looked back 
calmly at him and smiled. 

"You foolish boy!" she exclaimed with admi- 
rably-feigned good-humor and with a faint touch of 
scorn. "You are too young, my dear, to carry 
such dangerous weapons. Quit that nonsense and 
come here; I want to whisper something to you." 

She cast an alluring glance at the youth, and 
clasped her hands at the back of her head. The 
loose, white tissue bordered with gold fell back and 
left bare her beautiful arms, which circled her 
golden hair like an ivory frame. The effect upon 
Gilsby was instantaneous His face flushed, and 
rising he went over to her and bent down his head, 
holding the pistol loosely in his hand. Suddenly 
Mrs. Buckingham's grasp fell upon the weapon, and, 
wrenching it from his hold, she sprang to her feet. 
"Stand off!" she cried imperiously, and levelled 
the revolver at the astonished Gilsby. 

"What!" she said with a slight laugh; "7^//, the 
little Gilsby, play at murder and suicide! Utterly 
absurd! What can you have been thinking of? 
And" now you look as scared as if you had seen a 
ghost! Leave such high tragedy to the criminal 
classes. Now, not a step nearer i I am not going 
to give you another chance to play the despairing 



62 



Talcs of a Garrison Town, 



lover. How ungrateful you have been for all my 
favor! Haven't I introduced you to all my friends? 
Haven't 1 kept you from throwing your money away 
at the gambling-table and over the bar? Haven't 
I counselled you, kept you respectable? Did I ever 
encourage you to squander money upon me? And 
now you say you are ruined! Well, ruin is a rela- 
tive term. You are just coming to your senses 
Money has been your ruin, and you may thank me 
that it hasn't landed you in a drunkard's grave. 
Why, man, I have a conscience! You say this last 
little affair was in my honor? Very good; 1 will 
pay the piper. Two hundred pounds, I think you 
said. Rather an expensive day's pleasure! It will 
take just half of my year's income. But go — take 
it! Be off with you! Here is a draft on my banker 
for the amount. Now, I warn you to leave Halifax 
as soon as you can settle up your affairs. Go to the 
States and take a new start. On no account perse- . 
cute me any more; for if you do I tell you plainly it 
will be the worse for you. You know when I say a 
thing I always keep my word. With two hundred 
pounds and industry you may succeed anvwh' re 
Unlock that door if you please. Here to- 

graph. You can keep it as a sc i^ gh 

time for you to be in bed. I th tc we iiderstand 
each other now. Did you hear? Ope the door! 



IMMB 



mmtmaKommnfr'Sfam 



The Story of Young Gilsby. 



63 



I don't want to be harsh, tittle (lilsby, when parting 
with an old friend; but it is late and I can't have 
you longer in my rooms — there' Good-by!" She 
held out her right hand with the air of an empress, 
the pistol still cocked and ready in her left. Gilsby, 
dazed and unable to speak a word, put his lips to 
her hand and then slowly walketl out of the room. 
Mrs. Buckingham stood holding the revolver until 
she heard him shut his door in the hall above. She 
gave a sigh of relief and then laid down the weapon. 

"I declare," she said to herself with a little 
laugh, " I was really frightened These weak creat- 
ures are so uncertain. Poor fool, I believe he really 
loved me. I have got far beyond that sort of thing 
myself," and she gave a little sigh, and something 
like a tear glistened in her eye. 

Two days after Gilsby was on his way to Boston, 
and Halifax saw him no more. 



:| 


4 

I 


1 


1 


■ 



AN INCREASED ALLOWANCE. 



! 



i Mi 



AN INCREASED ALLOWANCE 



'' All the reasonings of men are not worth one sentiment of women." 

—Voltaire 



It is very well known that many fellows who go 
into the British army have pretty hard scrambling 
in a financial way. Unless a man has a little 
private income or great e.xpectations, he had better 
keep out of the service. So many a one has thought 
and said. It is ditficult for a young officer to live 
on his pay; and as to marrying on it, unless he 
marries money, as every officer (and possibly now 
and then a civilian) would like to do, why, that's 
absurd. 

Lieutenant Cranston was one of my best friends. 
I had met him in England before he came out to 
Halifax, and after seeing more or less of each 
other for six months in London, where he was spend- 
ing a furlough, his regiment being in Bermuda, we 
had parted with many assurances of mutual liking, 
and a little sinking of heart on l)()th sides at the 
thought of seeing each other no more. Once during 

our acquaintance I went down with him to Devon- 
5 67 



68 



Talcs of a Garrison Toivn. 



m 



1 



^ ' 



shire to see his people, whom I found no whit lack- 
ing in the charm that belongs to English country 
gentle-folk. Their home was a quaint, rambling, 
ivy-wreathed mansion, built in the sixteenth cen- 
tury, with noble grounds, a well-stocked deer-park, 
and every sign of wealth and aristocratic tradition. 
Accustomed as I was to the newness and comparative 
lack of cultivation of American colonial life, I shall 
never forget the rapturous days I spent there. Mr. 
Cranston, senior, was a stern man, accustomed to be 
obeyed, of whom all his servants stood in awe, but 
a man whom I soon saw had not only high breed- 
ing, with that courtly manner which belongs, in the 
old world or the new, to a true aristocracy, but a 
tender, generous heart as well. At first I was 
afraid of him, but I soon grew so fond of him, as 
well as of Mrs. Cranston — who was a tall, gentle, 
white-haired old lady, proud as an empress, 
but sweet and motherly — that I. almost forgot I 
did not belong to the family. As Bob s friend 
I believe they themselves hardly knew while 
1 was there that I was not one of the family. 
There were two splendid girls in the house, Lieuten- 
ant Cranston's cousins, from some other part of 
Devonshire; but the Mrss Cranstons, of whom 
there had been three, had all been married within 
the last two years — one to Sir Charles Mills, a 




An Increased Allowance. 



69 



member of Parliament for Surrey, one to a son 
of Admiral Barker, and one, the youngest, to the 
heir prospective to a Scottish barony. VV^hen Bob 
Cranston's furlough was about up, his regiment, the 
i8th Grenadiers, was suddenly ordered to Halifax. 
This was some four months after we had parted in 
London and I had sailed for the Nova Scotia capi- 
tal. So, unexpectedly, we were together again; 
and I am foolish enough to think that Bob was a 
good deal happier in coming on the station because 
he knew he would find me there. 

One of the most winning girls in Halifax was 
MollieDeane. She had good blood in her veins; she 
had about three hundred pounds a year in her own 
light; she had a handsome face, a tolerable figure, 
and plenty of sense. I did not wonder that Bob 
Cranston fell in love with her. Why on earth 
shouldn t he have done so? I should have been 
head over ears in love with her myself if I had 
not known her as a child, and seen her grow 
up, and been on the brother list of her friends 
ever since she became a woman. Mollie Deane 
— why, 1 believe I should have thrown Cranston 
over if he hadn't fallen in love with her. I 
always expected every fellow to lose his heart to 
her; she was so sensible, so comradish, in every 
way such a splendid girl Bob did fall in love 



70 



Talcs of a Garrison Toivn. 



I 



with her, and they became engaged; and the young 
Lieutenant forthwith, in high feather, wrote the 
news home. Three successive mails carried letters 
to England about his engagement, about the girl, 
about his desire to marry soon, and all the rest 
of it. 

To Bob suddenly came a letter from Mr. Cranston, 
in which the boy was called a fool and was rather 
authoritatively ordered to give the whole thing up. 
*' I am not going to have you marry a girl in the 
colonies," his father wrote. "If you are bound to 
marry, which, until you are at least thirty [Bob 
was then twenty-four], it is sheer nonsense for you 
to want to do, you must manry in England. I 
won't have any such foolery. Bob! I don't approve 
of this; and I warn you that if you persist in it I 
will cut your present allowance down to a figure 
that will make it impossible for even so romantic a 
young man as you to think of such a thing." 

Of course Bob Cranston at once broke his engage- 
ment ? Not a bit of it. He went straight to Mollie 
and showed her the letter, and acted more like a fool 
than ever over her; and when she said, "Bob, you 
had better give me up; your father is clearly very 
resolute and means all he says," he replied with a 
little dignity: "Mollie, if I was coward enough to 
do that I would throw my commission to the winds. 



IH ; I 



MHMI 



An Increased Allowanee. 



7» 



for I should not be worthy the name of a soldier. 
What sort of a son, in the name of thunder, does 
my father think he has got?" 

It so happened that Mollie Deane was then on the 
eve of departure for England, where she had been 
invited to spend three months with Lady Lines, the 
wife of an officer in the last regiment, with whom 
she had been a great favorite. The same 
steamer that took her across the Atlantic took a 
letter to Devonshire, in which Lieutenant Cranston 
dignifiedly, respectfully, and yet most firmly 
declared that he was not going to give Mollie 
Deane up; that she was worth a dozen English 
girls; that he would never love any other woman, 
and much more to the same purpose — ending with: 
'* Miss Deane sails for England on the steamer that 
carries this letter, to visit her friend Lady Lines in 
London, and I greatly wish, my dear father, that 
you would go up to London and call on her. " 

This was a modest request, and when Mr. Cran- 
ston, senior, read it he was almost dumfounded. 
*' I go to London to see this girl that I have posi- 
tively forbidden Bob to marry! He dare to ask me 
such a thing! Why, Bob is taking leave of his 
senses." The old gentleman thought about it a 
week or two, however, and then sat down and wrote 
Mollie Deane the following letter: 



V 



ii i! 



: I 



72 



Tales of a Garrison Town, 



My dear Madam : My son, Lieutenant Cranston, 
writes me that you are a friend of his and are visit- 
ing in London. If you care to see Mrs. Cranston 
and me, you may come and spend a few days with 
us. The house is quiet; but perhaps, since (as my 
son tells me) you have always lived in the new 
world, you may find some things here to interest you. 
I have the honor to be, madam, 

Your obedient servant, 

RoiJERT Cranston, Sr. 
Cranston Ilall^ Devonshire. 

Mollie Deane, with Mr. Cranston's peremptory 
letter to Bob fresh in her memory, was in no mood 
to receive a summons like this. He was evidently 
regarding her as an ignorant, spiritless little sav- 
age, who had no claim to be regarded as a woman, 
much less as a lady, and for whom any kind of 
treatment was good enough. If Bob had been 
present she would no doubt have been counselled to 
a diflerent course from the one she took, but Bob was 
the other side of the Atlantic; moreover, Mollie 
was accustomed to act for herself. At once she 
took the letter to her room, and sitting down wrote 
the following reply: 

Mv dear Sir- I am, as you know, the afifianced 
wife of your son, Robert Cranston. I am sorry that 



An Increased Alhzvance. 



73 



you do not approve of me, and with matters as they 
are you must excuse my not visiting you.in Devon- 
shire. If I am not to be received by you as your 
son's wife, I cannot of course become a guest at 
your house. 

Believe me, dear sir, 

Very sincerely yours, 

Mary Deane. 



This answer took Mr. Cranston wholly by sur- 
prise. "She is at least a girl of spirit," he said, 
"and I like spirit. But she is probably ignorant, 
although this letter, spicy as it is, seems like the 
letter of a^ somewhat cultivated person; and since 
she will not come to us, there is nothing else that 
I can do nor anything that I shall try to do." 

There was, however, something else that Mr. 
Cranston made up his mind in two or three days to 
do, and that was to run up to London and call on 
the young woman. On Monday Mollie wrote her 
letter, on Thursday a card was handed her, on 
which was the name of Robert Cranston, Sr Her 
knees shook a little as she went down, but Mollie 
was a brave girl, and moreover she was a little 
angry, and when a woman is angry she can do very 
heroically things that in softer moods she could 
not do at all. That day she had on a gown of soft, 



» 






i) 



' 1 



74 



Tales of a Garrison Town, 



fine, white cashmere, simply but artistically made 
— a gown, in fact, that had just come home from 
Lady Lines* dressmaker, one of the best in London. 
It was a rich, drapy costume, with dainty folds up and 
down the waist, into one of which she had fastened 
a bunch of creamy roses that Lady Lines had that 
morning ordered for her at a florist's near. Her 
soft brown hair was simply coiled, and her color 
was exquisite. If any girl was ever fitted to win 
her way to an obdurate prospective father-in-law's 
heart, it was certainly she; and she did win her 
way. The old gentleman had clearly made up his 
mind to overawe her; for as she entered the room 
he rose with haughty dignity, and before speaking 
looked at her in a keen, searching way, not at all 
calculated to soothe her ruffled spirits. Usually, 
Mollie would quickly have resented such treatment, 
but, as she afterward told me, the likeness between 
Mr. Cranston and Bob was so strong that she at 
once lost all sense of her own dignity and found 
her heart going out to her stately visitor. However 
resolute Mr. Cranston had beforehand determined to 
•be with the young woman who had stolen his son's 
affections, before five minutes were over he was 
deeply repentant for having written as he had done 
to his son and to her. "Miss Deane," he said at 
length, after trying in vain to talk about indifferent 




"If any girl was ever fitted to win her way to an obdurate pro- 
spective father-in-law's heart, it was certainly she." 



II m 



'l,,i!l 



1^- ' 



An Increased Aliowancc, 



77 



things, "I believe I am in my dotage. I might 
have known that Bob would choose right. He has 
chosen right. I should have been ashamed of him 
if he had not fallen in love with such a girl as you 
are. Give you up? Why, when I was his age, if 
all the fathers in the world had bidden me give up 
a girl like you I should have laughed in their faces. 
And I tried to make him do what he would have 
been a cowardly fellow to have done I Permit me. 
Miss Deane, to tell you that it is my candid opinion 
that I am an old simpleton. Will you do us the 
honor, now that I have called on you, to come down 
to Cranston Hall for as long as you can stay — and 
very soon ?" 

Mollie wanted to put her arms round the old fel- 
low's neck and kiss him for Dob — and for herself; 
but he looked so proud and stately she was afraid. 
When he left it was, however, with a promise from 
her that she would come to Devonshire in a few days 
for a visit of at least a week. 

All that Mr. Robert Cranston's next letter to his 
son, Lieutenant Cranston, contained was: "Bob, I 
have seen her; she is a glorious girl ! I ask your 
pardon! I hope you will not delay matters long; I 
dislike lengthy engagements. The day you are 
married I shall increase your allowance two hundred 
pounds. Can you live on that? God bless you!" 



78 



Tales of a Garrison Town, 



Last week I gave Moll ie away, for she has neither 
father nor brother; and much as I love Bob, I was 
half-jealous of him. Going out of the church, I felt 
a little as if I had lost them both. 



either 
i was 
I felt 



SIMPSON OF THE SLASHERS. 



SIMPSON OF THE SLASHERS. 



" lie could spin a stiff yarn, could this blonmin' top-sawyer. 
}(« was tlv iis a Itarmaid and slick as a lawyer ; 
'I'wo mottoes he had —never [my till to-morrow, 
And, while yc'vc the chink never liorrow a sorrow." 

— The Dandy o>-- I^kickstkr SotrARK. 



Second-lieutenant Simpson of the Slashers was 
hard up. The pay of a junior commissioned officer 
in the British infantry is not large enough to war- 
rant reckless expenditure^ in magnums of champagne 
and Havana cigars at a shilling and upward apiece. 
It will not even serve for a three-hours' nightly 
spin at billiards or a sixpenny ante at poker when 
one is not an expert with the cue or at cards. 
Yet Simpson of the Slashers took to ail these gentle 
pastimes as readily as does a Newfoundland pup to 
water. There was not a confiding retail tradesman 
in either of the stations where the Slashers had served 
during the last five years who was not familiar with 
Simpson's name on certain narrow slips of paper, 
which, whatever may be their expectant value, in 
the end too often cone to have a merely auto- 
graphical interest. Simpson's lodgings contained 
a miscellaneous assortment of prints, foils, novels, 



f 



82 



Talcs of a Garrison Tozvn. 



I 



If 'SI 



toilet articles, clothes of a variety of styles and 
textures, and a portrait of the girl to whom he had 
been for three years engaged. Her name was 
Georgianna Jackson; she lived in London with a 
respectable old maiden aunt who \ept lodgers, at 
whose house, in his salad days, the susceptible 
Simpson had once had rooms; and she was wait- 
ing patiently for Simpson to get hJs promotion, 
which now, in the nature of things, she thought, 
could not be long delayed. 

Simpson himself, however, had been in no par- 

« 

ticular haste to marry. He had been having a 
rather comfortable time, so long as tradesmen were 
not importunate and were wUling to fike the little 
slips of paper before mentioned, of which he always 
seemed to have a liberal supply. Simpson of the 
Slashers was one of those easy souls who very faith- 
fully and literally obey the Scripture injunction, 
"Take no thought for the morrow. ' Duns were 
somewhat unpleasant to him; but where is the mor- 
tal who can long have unalloyed plcvisure? The 
Second-lieutenant accepted the duns as one of the 
inevitable nuisances of life, like sewing-machines, 
babies, and the daily parade, and therefore paid as 
little attention to them as possible. It must be 
confessed, however, that the attitude of tlie Halifax 
shopkeepers was becoming most disagreeable. The 



i l » i»» HWWI 



Simpson of the Slashers. 



83 



IS 



reigment had now been stationed here two or three 
years, and one year was usually sufficient to exhaust 
Simpson's credit in a garrison town. He had 
latterly been under the necessity of borrowing from 
his friends, which is usually an irksome thing to a 
man of spirit, but which to Simpson was made 
easier by the fact that he had not only high connec- 
tions, but high expectations. These expectations 
seemed somewhat doutbful to his fellow-officers, 
but to Simpson's sanguine mind they had all the 
value of reality; and he was accustomed to say, when 
he found it necessary to ask his friends for money: 
"You know it won't be for long. I shall come into 
my fortune soon." 

The truth was that Simpson was next heir but one 
to his uncle, old Sir Cholmondeley Hyng, in the 
west of England; and if his weakly cousin Herbert 
should die, as Simpson had always felt that it was 
likely he would do before long, he would of course 
succeed to the estates. In any case, he believed 
that his uncle would provide liberally for him in his 
will, and the old gentleman was now seventy-six 
and very feeble. 

The good-nature of the regiment, however, at last 
became sorely taxed with Simpson's frequent loans 
— "benevolences," as they were facetiously termed 
in the garrison; and when Simpson one day asked 



u 



84 



Ta/i's of a Garrison Toivn. 



Captain Crossaway for the fourth time for an ad- 
vance of twenty pounds on his expectations, the 
Captain twirled his long mustache, and, looicing a 
little sourly at Simpson, said: "Hang it, my boy, 
aren't you carrying this thing rather far?" and then 
turned on his heel without a word and walked away. 
Simpson looked angrily after him, cursing him under 
his breath for a miserly hunks, and then went off 
to try for a loan somewhere else. Before long 
Addington, of the next company, and Tipton, whose 
father was a millionaire, and little Creighton, the 
dandy of the regiment, who spent more on his 
clothes than any other three officers, had all refused 
similar requests; and then Simpson saw that some- 
thing must be done. 

Simpson was really mildly attached to Georgianna 
Jackson, and if he could have helped '*^ would not 
for a moment have dreamed of throwing her over; 
but his tastes were expensive, and his means for 
gratifying them excessively inadequate. In such a 
state of thi:,gs men do various things. One goes 
out decently and quietly and perforates his brains 
with a bullet, or drops accidentally into the town 
reservoir, or goes to the bad with drink. Another, 
of a more provident turn of mind, trifles with his 
employer's till, or forges somebody's name, or, if 
he be of an adventurous disposition, cracks a house, 



Simpson of the Slashers, 



85 



and perhaps a skull at the same time. But Simp- 
son, always careful of his person, objected to the 
former ways of solving his difficulty; and for the 
latter, while he was willing to live as long as he 
gracefully could at other people's expense, he was 
not desirous of being provided with Government 
board and lodging and of wearing an unhandsome 
suit of striped clothes, which assuredly would not 
be cut in the latest fashion. But these temptations 
he was happily beyond, for our Second-lieutenant 
was one of those upright souls who exhaust all 
honorable expedients before resorting to doubtful 
ones. There was only one way he could imagine 
of getting out of his scrape. It was simply to 
throw over his Cieorgianna and marry a rich girl. 
A gay, good-looking young officer in his uniform 
is, as we all know, a decidedly pleasant object of 
contemplation to the average feminine eye. Simp- 
son had a good figure, and his uniform fitted him to 
perfection, while in plain clothes he was not less 
attractive. So, the "scarlet fever" being alarm- 
ingly and disastrously prevalent among the fair sex, 
it was natural that he should have ardent admirers. 
One of the richest uncaptured heiresses of the city 
was the daughter of old *Ir. Port way, a retired West 
India merchant; and upon Miss Anetta Porlway 

Simpson cast his amorous and speculative eye. The 
6 



86 



Talcs of a Garrison Toxvn. 






'■ N 



chief drawbacks in the case were not the unwilling- 
ness of the maiden, but the facts that, like the fair 
Katherine of the play, the florid Miss Port way was 
known to have a most uncertain temper, and that 
she was a maiden of such problematic age that the 
irreverent youths about town were wont to call 
her alliteratively, " Perennial Pepper (Irass. " But 
Simpson was in no position to be particular about 
trifles such as these, and he accordingly began to 
lay close siege to the heart of Miss Portway. That 
citadel of fair femininity, after a decent delay, gave 
unmistakable signs of a breach in its defences, and 
Simpson had no great difficulty in urging the fortress 
to surrender. 

Things now began to go more smoothly with the 
Second-lieutenant. Tradesmen again grew indul- 
gent to him, and his brother-officers were not so 
chary of their loans; for it was well understood that 
old Peter Portway's settlement on his only daugh- 
ter, if she was ever lucky enough to marry, would 
be liberal and would be in hard cash. Now that his 
immediate necessities were provided for, however, 
Simpson was not in a hurry to plunge into matri- 
mony; and in truth he infinitely preferred Georgi- 
anna Jackson to Miss Tort way. So, when the latter 
hinted that six months would be a suitable length 
of time to be engaged, expecting that her ardent 



i «> 



Simpson of the Slashers, 



87 



lover would insist on reducing the time to two or 
three months, he nervously pulled his mustache, 
and said that there were military reasons, which she 
must excuse him from then explaining, which would 
make it impossible for them to have the wedding 
under a year. It was most unfortunate, and he 
deeply regretted it; but though he would try hard 
to get the obstacle removed, with a sigh, he feared 
he should not be successful. The truth was he felt 
quite confident of securing his prize at any time he 
wished, for maidens of Miss Portway's uncertain 
age are not too eagerly sought, and do not easily let 
go their hold on an attractive young fedow like 
Simpson of the Slashers. The situation, however, 
was extremely complicated. He had by no means 
yet cut loose from Georgianna Jackson, though 
his now less frequent letters to her were marked 
by an unwonted coldness; and he had bound him- 
self by a tender vow to Miss Anetta Portway. 
Still, he felt quite easy in his mind. Simpson 
was one of those men who are never much worried 
so long as their present needs are met. There soon 
came reproaches, however, from the loved one across 
the sea, and the delicately-scented note-paper bore 
unmistakable marks of tears. Simpson twisted the 
letters up and lighted his cigars with them, and, 
partly in excuse to his own conscience, replied with 



88 



Talcs of a Garrison Town. 



I , I 



virtuous indignation that if Georgianna doubted 
him siie was in no sense worthy to become his wife, 
etc., etc. So there for a time the matter hQng. 
1 The year of waiting which Simpson had declared 
unavoidable was fast drawing to a close, and the 
I/icutcnant was meditating the final coup in the 
issue between him and Georgianna, when the news 
came suddenly from England that his cousin Her- 
bert, while riding to the hounds, had fallen and 
broken his neck. This put a different aspect on 
Simpson's affairs. His infirm uncle could not pos- 
sibly last more than a year or two at most, and 
Simpson would then come into possession of the 
ancestral estate. The prospect of marrying Miss 
Port way grew all of a sudden extremely distasteful 
to him, and the prospect of marrying Georgianna 
once more alluring. But how was he to get things 
straight? He thought of many expedients, but dis- 
missed them all as impracticable. At length a happy 
though desperate thought struck him. He would 
not break his engagement with Miss Portway, but 
he would have it broken by her family. Accord- 
ingly, he went out and got what in a person of a 
lower grade would be called gloriously drunk, and 
then proceeded to call on his afifianced, at a time 
when he knew her eminently respectable and some- 
what puritanical parent would be at home. The 



Simpson of the Slashers, 



89 



•1 



sober old West India merchant himself happened to 
open the door to the inebriated Simpson, and of 
course took in his condition at a glance. "What 
does this mean, sir?" with emphasis he said. "No 
man has ever dared to cross my threshold in this 
condition before. You have insulted my family, 
sir! Never presume to show your head here again!" 

The episode made a tremendous sensation. Miss 
I'ortway herself, on being told of it by her father, 
went into violent hysterics, took brain fever, and 
had three physicians to attend her. Simpson went 
to his Colonel, laid his own version of the facts 
before him, and, careful not to inculpate him- 
self too deeply, asked for six months' leave. The 
Colonel cursed him for a fool, but granted him the 
rc(iuired furlough, and Simpson the next week got 
on board an Allan Liner and set out for England. 
He was going now to be virtuous, as became a pro- 
spective country gentleman of large fortune, marry 
(jeorgianna, and probably quit the army and set up 
for Parliament. 

As soon as he arrived in England he hastened 
to Russell Square to see Miss Jackson. He would 
take her back to his heart, and would not reproach 
her with a single word for her suspicions and her 
tears. He was doing a magnanimous thing, he 
thought, in keeping to his old love now that his 




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Tales of a Garrison Town. 



prospects were so improved. Had this all come 
about a few years earlier, perhaps he would hardly 
have felt like engaging himself to a person in Miss 
Jackson's rather humble circumstances. But, much 
to his surprise, Simpson found his Georgianna glibly 
entertaining a tall man with blond side-whiskers, 
who dropped his h's ruthlessly, and, quite monopo- 
lizing the young lady's attention, persistently stayed 
the Second-lieutenant out. 

As for Georgianna, her manner toward her old 
lover was so changed that Simpson, instead of figur- 
ing, as he had fully expected, in a tender little love- 
scene, found himself playing second fiddle to an 
unexpected rival, and at last went away feeling 
decidedly cut up. Before he went, however, he told 
Georgianna, with some show of pique, that he 
would call again next morning, at which announce- 
ment she did not seem particularly well pleased. 

Next morning he did call, and then Miss Jackson 
explained. She had got tired of waiting for his 
promotion, had been exasperated at his last letter, 
and moreover had lately heard a rumor of his engage- 
ment to Miss Portway ; and so she had just engaged 
herself to the man with the blond side-whiskers and 
the scanty supply of h's, and had made up her mind 
to marry him instead. She indignantly denied that 
she was fickle, but charged him fiercely with having 



Simpson of the Slashers, 



91 



been cruel to her. Then she relented, burst into 
tears, and declared that she would never forget him; 
but again bridled up and told him that she had a 
lover now who was worth a dozen of him; that he 
loved her to distraction, and that that was the end 
of it. 

Wounded in his tenderest sensibilities, the Second- 
lieutenant at once took the train for the West 
Counties. 

He had never been much of a favorite with his 
uncle, but he felt sure of a royal welcome now that 
he was next heir to the estate. His heart warmed 
with pride and gratification as the fly he had hired 
at the station entered the ample park gates. In his 
hour of triumph he forgot even his unfortunate love- 
affair. He jumped briskly out of the fly, ran up 
the steps to the big oak hall-door and knocked with 
an air of proprietorship. In a minute or two he was 
ushered into the presence of his uncle, who received 
his* condolences with marked taciturnity. When 
the Lieutenant had got through his little set speech, 
the old gentleman rang a small hand-bell and gave 
an order in a low voice to a servant. 

In a few minutes a pleasant-faced, lady-like 
young woman in deep mourning entered the room, 
holding a three-months'-old infant in her arms. 

**Effie, this is my nephew, Alfred," said Sir Choi- 



^ 



92 



Tales of a Garrison Town, 



mondeley. "My son's widow, nephew Alfred; and 
this is the heir of the estate," said he, taking the 
child from its mother. 

" I was not aware that my cousin was married,** 
stammered Simpson, aghast. 

"Really! You hadn't heard of it?" said Sir 
Cholmondeley, a touch of something like irony in 
his tone. "Oh, yes — more than a year ago! You 
will stay and dine with us, nephew ?" he added, 
with a little more cordiality than he had hitherto 
shown. 

Simpson stayed, and swallowed his mortification 
along with his dessert. He hadn't the faintest idea 
what to do with himself, so he eagerly accepted an 
invitation to stay a week or two at the hall. All 
his hopes, however, had not been shattered by the 
blow. Though he could not return to Halifax, since 
his creditors would be on him like a pack of wolves, 
and his companions in arms would also be urg- 
ing him to liquidate his "benevolences," like 
the master of circumstances that he was, he set to 
work in a new way to repair his ruined fortunes. 
He began to lay close siege to the affections of 
his cousin's widow; and, early as it was in her 
widowhood, proposed, but unexpectedly met with a 
point-blank refusal. By the aid of a friend in the 
Government, he then exchanged from the Slashers 



Simpson of the Slashers. 



93 



to a regiment going out to Burmah, where he was 
sent up country chasing Dacoits. This, however, 
after a while became tiresome, so he conveniently 
took a malarial fever, which did its business most 
effectually, soon putting an end to Simpson for all 
time. 

Now, I ask. Was not this a lame and impotent 
conclusion to an interesting career? Here was a 
fellow who had made the most of his opportunities, 
and yet was utterly thrown away for need of a little 
ready cash. Verily, the race is not always to the 
swift nor the battle to the strong! 



II! 



! 






hi 



111 



HOW GROSVENOR GOT HIS 

CHURCH. 



HOW GROSVENOR GOT HIS 
CHURCH. 



She saw their blind, unchristian souls 
Enslaved to chasubles and stoles; 
No high-church notions could content her. 
She took her cue from the dissenter; 
Then turned schismatic, and with pelf 
Endowed a chapel for herself. 

— The Squire's Widow. 

Before the Durston and Tremlow families knew 
anything about the matter, Wilfrid and Alice were 
engaged. You may well believe that the news 
kicked up a pretty row in the respective households. 
Mrs. Arabella Tremlow, Wilfrid's mother, said she 
"would not allow anything of the kind;" and when 
Mrs. Arabella put her foot down, it meant something. 
She was an aristocrat to the back-bone and an 
Episcopalian to the finger-ends; so how in the 
world was she going to put up with a Baptist 
daughter-in-law — a girl whose ancestors had not had 
the best social standing, and who, in the old days, 
when the great defection from the Church to the 
Baptists occurred in Halifax, had almost forfeited 
what they had by joining that movement? This 

97 



7 



98 



Tales of a Garrison Town, 



apostasy had never been forgiven by many of the old 
families who still adhered to the English Church, 
prominent among them the Tremlows and their 
near connections, the Sterlings. 

It would have been bad enough for Wilfrid to have 
taken up with a Methodist or a Presbyterian; but 
with a" Baptist recusant!" — that was almost beyond 
endurance ! The Durstons were nearly as set on their 
^ide. The Church of England had now become an 
abomination in their eyes. They would as soon 
their daughter had forgathered with a papist. Alice 
received a stern admonition. But the Durstons, 
assisted by all their connections, couldn't persuade 
her that Wilfrid was not the handsomest, wisest, wit- 
tiest, most agreeable young man in Halifax; and all 
the loud objurgations of the Tremlows, together with 
the solemn protests of the Sterlings (who were Wil- 
frid's mother's people), could not prevent the con- 
tumacious young man from maintaining that Alice 
was the sweetest, loveliest, daintiest, brightest, 
dearest girl in town. 

Now, when two young people get such ideas of 
each other firmly fixed in their minds and hearts, 
there is going to be a " tug of war" should an 
attempt be made to separate them; and this the 
Durstons and Tremlows soon found out. But the 
two principals in this affair were under an awkward 



How Grosvcnor got his Church. 



99 



disadvantage. Ilotli of them were absolutely depend- 
ent on their families, and neither understood any- 
thing of business. Alice had been brought up to be 
a good housewife, but she knew very little about 
battling with the world. Wilfrid, who had been 
delicate in his youth, had never been put to work, 
and was absolutely dependent on his mother, who, 
though wealthy, held the purse-strings with a tight 
hand. 

Mrs. Tremlow's first suspicion of her son's wanton 
disregard of the traditions of his house came from 
seeing him on Sunday evenings forsaking the minis- 
trations of that excellent Low Churchman, the Rev. 
Dr. Dole. Mrs. Arabella herself (except when the 
weather was very stormy) had never neglected 
either of the Sunday services, and she was always 
punctual at week-day prayers as well. She had 
sat for the last forty years in an old-fashioned, 
straight-backed square pew, with horse-hair cushions 
on the seats — covered with faded majenta repp — 
and a little crimson cloth-covered table in the centre 
to hold the books. To this pew she had brought 
Wilfrid, during all his childhood and youth, to the 
time of his coming of age. Now she heard with 
horror and indignation that after partaking for a 
score of years of the pure milk of the Word as 
administered by the Rev. Dr. Dole, Wilfrid had 



^■B 



loo 



Talcs of a Garrison Town. 



been stealing off of a Sunday evening to the Baptist 
Chapel to listen to the effusive and heretical ex- 
hortations of Mr. Deering, the dissenting minister. 
But when, on being brought to book, Wilfrid had 
boldly declared his preference for the expositions 
of Mr. Deering, and capped the climax of audacity 
by asking his mother's consent to marry Alice 
Durston, the lady's indignation knew no bounds. 
She set her mouth rigidly, and the lace and lavender 
bows on her old-fashioned cap shook angrily. She 
told Wilfrid roundly that not a penny of her money 
should go to him if he married a Baptist, and asked 
him in irony if there was no young lady in his own 
church worthy of the honor of his alliance. To this 
Wilfrid gave the only answer he had ready — the 
answer of all accused lovers — that it didn't make 
any difference who might be in the world besides, 
his affections were unalterably fixed on this one 
woman, who was all in all to him. His mother 
sniffed and pooh-poohed him and called him a sim- 
pleton, and as neither side would give in, they 
came no nearer an agreement. Alice, on her side, 
was enjoined by her family never to see Wilfrid 
more; and as she was a good girl, for a week she 
managed to obey. After that she frequently met 
her lover — by accident, of course — at the chapel on 
Sunday evenings. But finally, like a woman 



ll! \- ! 



,!i ■ 



How Grosvcnor got his Church, loi 



of spirit, she resolved to take matters into her own 
hands, and one Sunday night, perfectly conscious of 
the risk she was running, without ceremony asked 
Wilfrid to the house. The Durstons, hospitable 
people, were constrained to make themselves agree- 
able, and Wilfrid on his part, by his modest bear- 
ing and courteous manners, rather prepossessed 
them in his favor. Knowing, however, the deter- 
mined opposition of his mother, the Durstons with 
proper spirit kept from any demonstrations of 
pleasure in the match, though they now withdrew 
open objection. But a new turn in events entirely 
changed the aspect of this love affair. 

Dr. Dole was getting old, and the active work of 
the parish fell upon a young and zealous curate, 
fresh from college. This "new broom," the Rev. 
Pascal Hodgkins, was for doing away with many 
of the old methods of St. Jude's, and substituting 
for them what he called more churchly ones. 
He advocated a more elaborate ritual than had 
heretofore been in use, for the first time intro- 
duced the surplice in the pulpit, and appeared in 
richly embroidered colored stoles. Then, dismissing 
the old choir from the gallery, he had the music 
rendered by vested choristers instead. It was even 
thought he wanted to make processionals a feature 

of the service. He used the eastward position in 
7 






•I 






i 



I! i 



102 



Talcs of a Garrison Toivn. 



the creed, and sometimes read evening prayer in a 
way that to the uninitiated sounded strangely like 
intoning. These important changes gave great 
offence, particularly to Mrs. Arabella Tremlow, 
who saw Jesuitical guile and papal sophistry in 
them all. But when the zealous curate persuaded 
the Doctor to put in new chancel furniture, replace 
the old altar-rail with one of improved design, and 
for the time-honored reading-desk substitute a brand- 
new, costly eagle lectern, the older members of St. 
Jude's held up their hands in holy horror. Mr. 
Hodgkins, too, rigorously observed the saints' days, 
and was accused by some of offering prayers for the 
dead; but this latter serious charge was not estab- 
lished. 

Mrs. Tremlow looked upon Mr. Hodgkins with an 
eye of grov/ing disfavor. "Let him carry his re- 
forms somewhere else; they are not needed in St. 
Jude's," she said to those who defended the curate 
as a reformer. She even absented herself from the 
week day services, and only her attachment to St. 
Jude's and her respect for old Dr. Dole kept her at 
her familiar post on Sundays. But a crisis came 
when Mrs. Tremlow took a severe sickness. She 
had expected her old pastor to call upon her, but in 
his place came Mr, Hodgkins, with a gold crucifix 
pendent from his watch-chain, and with his con- 



How Grosvenor got his Church, 103 



versation decidedly smaoJcing of ritualism. Mrs. 
Tremlow gave word that she did not wish to see 
him again. She grew worse, however, and Wilfrid 
became alarmed. He loved his mother dearly, for 
though she had opposed him in his choice of a wife, 
she had always been a kind and considerate mother 
to him. Wilfrid at length went to her room and 
said: "Mother, Mr. Deering has asked after you a 
number of times. He would come to see you if you 
would let him. He is a very excellent man — so 
attentive to the sick and so good to the poor! I 
know Dr. Dole has a great respect for him, though 
of course Mr. Hodgkins does not like him. He is 
liberal-minded and one of the fairest men in his 
opinions I ever saw — not narrow and bigoted like 
some in our own church. If I asked him to call 
you wouldn't mind seeing him, would you? He 
doesn't talk like a Baptist at all." 

But Mrs. Tremlow shook her head. " Why doesn't 
Dr. Dole come ?" she answered. 

"He's not well, he says; and you know, mother, 
he's getting old." 

"H'm! not too old, I should think, to make an 
effort to see a member of his church who has done 
her duty under him for thirty years! I'm afraid, 
Wilfrid, the Doctor has fallen under the influence of 
that whipper-snapper of a curate. How I detest 



1 1^ 



104 



Tales of a Garrison Town. 



1 ' 



\V: 

V 



the fellow, with his airs and new-fangled notions! 
Why doesn't he go over to Rome? That's the 
place for him! Turning the heads of silly young 
people till they don't know whether they are Prot- 
estants or not!" 

Next day Wilfrid repeated his attack. " Mother, " 
he said, " Mr. Deering, you know, is acquainted 
with me, and he called to inquire for you, but 
knowing you were a Churchwoman didn't ask to 
see you. He said he would call again to-morrow. 
Isn't that kind of him?" 

His mother answered nothing. 

Mr. Deering called the next day, and it was duly 
reported by Wilfrid. 

"If he calls to-morrow, Wilfrid, show him up," 
said Mrs. Tremlow. "One can't be put under obli- 
gation without making some return, even to a 
dissenter." 

So the next day Mr. Deering called and saw Mrs. 
Tremlow. He talked cheerfully, stayed but a few 
minutes, and avoided religious topics. Mrs. Trem- 
low was favorably impressed. " No cant about your 
Baptist, anyway!" she remarked to Wilfrid; "and 
in that respect he's an improvement on that Mr. 
Hodgkins." 

Mr. Deering called again, and although she de- 
clared that he was trying to make a proselyte of 



How Grosvenor got his Church. 105 



her, his attention flattered the self-esteem of the 
proud old Churchwoman. After his visit she was 
in a most gracious mood. "Wilfrid," she said, 
with apparent pettishness, "how is it you are not 
leaving me to run after that little Baptist girl? 
One would think, you deceitful fellow, that your 
old mother was the only person in your thoughts; 
but I know better. I am convinced your mind's 
running to the Baptists continually, if your legs 
are not. I believe you are secretly inviting Mr. 
Deering here." 

"Mother!" answered Wilfrid reproachfully. 

"Oh, of course you are a great big innocent! 
Such a thought never entered your mind! Well, 
you've been very faithful and constant to your poor 
old mother, and she is feeling much better. I've 
a mind to give you a little indulgence for being a 
good boy. You can tell the Baptist girl that she 
can call to-morrow and see me. Now don't kiss the 
cap off my head! I'm not making any promise to 
you — mind that! I'm only curious to see the girl 
who has been leading you astray. Go away now, 
and send the nurse; I'm tired." 

The nc\t day Wilfrid brought Alice to the house. 
The young girl was timid and constrained at first, 
for she stood much in awe of Wilfrid's mother; but 
Mrs. Tremlow unbent and chatted to Alice in such 



3 rt, 



II II 



I.*' 
V, 



I 06 



Ta/cs of a Garrison Town, 



a kind and motherly way that the latter soon threw 
off her reserve and showed herself to the elder 
woman the possessor of all the good and charming 
qualities that Wilfrid had enthusiastically credit- 
ed her with. She unostentatiously paid the sick 
woman a hundred small attentions, and being as 
dainty and light-footed as a bird, was an admi- 
rable attendant. It is generally the case that stern 
and proud natures form quicker and stronger attach- 
ments than those of a gentler and more yield- 
ing sort; and Mrs. Tremlow was no exception to the 
rule. She grew at once attached to Alice, and 
kept her continually near her during her convales- 
cence. Tacitly she gave assent to Wilfrid's engage- 
ment, and took no trouble to keep the young people 
apart. "She can't help being a Baptist, Wilfrid; 
she was brought up to know nothing better — the 
more shame to her relations, who had the bad taste 
to leave St. Jude's! But her good qualities are all 
her own. I won't find fault with you for liking 
her; I like her myself." 

So next day when Alice came as usual, Mrs. Trem- 
low called her to her chair. 

"You love Wilfrid very badly, my dear?" she 
asked. 

Alice blushed carnation. 

" No need to answer- I see. Well, you shall have 



How Grosvenor got his Church. 107 



him, dear, for you are a good girl. We'll have to 
make a Church woman of you, though." 

And so the matter was settled. 

The Tremlows and Sterlings, however, heard of 
the engagement and came to the house. " I'repos- 
terous!" they said. 

"I have taken a fancy to Alice," was all Mrs. 
Arabella deigned to answer. 

" Oh, but a Baptist !" they said. " Who ever heard 
of such a thing?" 

"She will make Wilfrid a very good wife. I 
am quite capable of attending to the dignity of 
my family," retorted the old lady, drawing herself 
up. 

" But what a narrow, Pu*-' .cal set!" 

"There are worse people than the Baptists," was 
Mrs. Tremlow's sententious reply. 

Wilfrid's mother got well and laid her plans. 
Alice was her son's affianced, and as such was 
under her protection. "They shall receive her — 
yes, every one of them!" she said to herself. She 
spared no pains to make the engagement known, 
and she took Alice with her everywhere. At the 
least sign of a slight to the girl, the old lady made 
the quarrel her own; and it was no light thing to 
offend Mrs. Tremlow, who could boast of the best 
connections in Halifax, knew the family secrets of 






n 



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Tales of a Garrison Town, 



ill: 



flii 



most of the people in the town, and had a caustic 
and fearless tongu€. 

But the church question was a real difficulty. Wil- 
frid's mother would not go to St. Jude's, now that 
Mr. Hodgkins had come to exercise almost undis- 
puted sway there, and yet she could not consent to 
Wilfrid's marrying until Alice became a Church- 
woman. There were other churches to go to, it 
was true; but the Rev. Howard Singleton, of St. 
Alban's, was also very high church — in Mrs. Trem- 
low's opinion almost a papist — and St. Peter's, 
where the Rev. Philo Briggs ministered, was for 
several reasons quite out of the question. 

As luck would have it, there came just at this 
time to St. Barnabas' Mission a young clergyman 
from New Brunswick, by the name of Grosvenor. 
He was liberal-minded and zealous, had a winning 
manner, and was a decided Low Churchman. Mrs. 
Tremlow went directly to hear him, "That's the 
man for us!" she said to Wilfrid, and on being in- 
troduced to the young clergyman at once invited 
him to tea. She had a long talk with him on 
Church doctrine, and while he went further than 
she in liberality of opinion, his way of looking 
at things on the whole pleased her. 

"You need a church badly, Mr. Grosvenor," she 
said. 



How Grosvenor got his Church, 109 



Mr. Grosvenor admitted the fact. " But the 
Church people of Halifax generally, and even the 
Bishop, are not in sympathy with me," he added, 
smiling. 

" We are in sympathy with you, sir," replied the 
old lady, in a stately manner, and with her lips 
tightening. '* The Bishop — h'm! Half the Epis- 
copalians of Halifax are fools, I am compelled 
to say. Mr. Grosvenor, you shall have a church, 
and the first members of it will be viy family. I 
have a son who has been straying away to the Bap- 
tists, but you must bring him back. You will 
perhaps call here and see his intended wife? She is 
at present a Baptist, but very sensible and open to 
reason. The marriage is conditional on her be- 
coming a Churchwoman. You are the man I have 
been waiting for to convert her." 

Mr. Grosvenor called and saw Alice. Zeal for his 
church, ambition for the powerful aid of the Trem- 
lows, and interest in the pretty young woman, who 
opened her mind to him freely, incited the young 
clergyman to his best. He made the case so clear 
to Alice by his arguments, and Wilfrid looked at 
her so wistfully, that when he finished the Baptist 
faith had not a leg to stand on, and Alice, much 
to the joy of her affianced, was willing to become a 
Churchwoman. 






I 10 



Talcs of a Garrison Toivn. 



i' 



Wilfrid carried the good news to his mother. 

"Alice may get her things ready as soon as she 
likes," said the old lady. " Ask Mr. Grosvenor to 
call and see me." 

"Mr. Grosvenor," she said, when that gentleman 
had come, "you have done well. You need no 
longer be over-considerate of the ritualists of Hali- 
fax or the IJishop. I will pay for your church, 
and you shall have free scope. I think this ought 
to give you a respectable building, but if you need 
more come to me. I have, sir, every confidence in 
you," and she put into the astonished clergyman's 
hand a check for twelve thousand dollars. 

This is how Grosvenor got his church. 



i 



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she 
r to 



nan 
no 
ili- 
ch, 
jht 
;ed 
in 

I'S 



MRS. BUCKINGHAM'S REVENGE. 



I I ■ M' 






MRS. BUCKINGHAM'S REVENGE. 



*'By this good liKht, a wench of matchh-ss mettle," — Scott. 



Since the day when young Gilsby, the South 
African, made such a fool of himself over her, Mrs. 
Buckingham had been more talked of than any other 
person in Halifax. The officers of the Derby Rifles 
were her stanch friends, and many of the married 
and single men of Halifax admired her exceedingly. 
But the Halifax women could not bear her. Prud- 
ery fled affrighted from her presence, immaculate 
respectability shunned the touch of her garments. 
But what did Mrs. Buckingham care for the Halifax 
women so long as she could captivate their husbands 
and lovers and in dress outshine them all? She 
had more admirers among the men than any dozen of 
them. She laughed at them and caricatured them, 
to the vast amusement of her admirers. On one 
occasion, however, Mrs. Buckingham was startled 
quite out of her usual good-natured disdain, and it 
came in this way. 

There wa# a grand military ball given in Halifax 

the winter after her arrival, and Mrs Buckingham 

"3 



114 



Talcs of a Garrison Toivu. 






was there. As she was a splendid dancer she had 
been much sought after as a partner by the gay 
young bloods at the various hops and social fes- 
tivities to which she had managed to get invited. 
She had always been tolerated in mixed assemblies, 
and up to the time of the military ball had never 
received a public slight; but on the evening in 
question she was engaged for the lancers by Captain 
Martin, of the Rifles, and was just entering the set 
on that gentleman's arm, when the lady who was 
her vis-il-vts refused to dance and precipitately 
retired. Mrs. Buckingham shot a keen glance at 
her, smiled a little, and fingered her bracelet. Then 
there was an awkward pause until Mrs. Bertram's 
place could be filled. Mr. Bertram, the lady's hus- 
band, who was in the same set, blushed and frowned 
at his wife's a lions, and bit his lip with vexation. 
His wife's conspicuous prudery nettled him, though 
he had never been a friend of the woman she had 
insulted. When the dance was done he took an 
early opportunity to attempt a smoothing over of 
the situation. Mrs. Buckingham received him 
graciously and with perfect ease, and when he 
made a delicate attempt at an apology, merely 
lifted her eyebrows and remarked how well Mrs. 
Bertram looked, and how fortunate Mr. Bertram 
was to have a wife with such taste in dress. This 



Mrs. nmkingham s Revenge. 



115 



calmness aiul j^cnerosity filled Mr. Bertram with 
admiration, and lie mentally declared that Mrs. 
lUickingham was a much-abused person. He asked 
permission to call soon upon her, and Mrs. Buck- 
ingham nodded a pleasant assent. 

" Rash man! you would see the ogress in her den? 
It is very dangerous," she said, extending her 
shapely fingers and giving him a bewitching smile. 
Then she bowed and left him. She never granted 
a new admirer more than a few minutes' conversa- 
tion at a time, but always cut the colloquy short at 
its most interesting point. A shrewd woman was 
Mrs. Buckingham! 

Bertram called, and Mrs. Buckingham exerted all 
her power to captivate him. The upshot of the 
matter was that in a few weeks his infatua- 
tion was the talk of the town, Mrs. Buckingham 
had him almost as much under her thumb as that 
poor chough, Gilsby. He would be at the hotel two 
or three times a week, and nothing that any one 
could do or say would stop him. When once a man 
got into Mrs. Buckingham's hands he was never his 
own master again till she grew tired of him. And 
no'Y that lady was intent upon gaining complete 
control of Bertram, and there was little likelihood 
that she would drop him until she had ruined him 
and his household. She was not ordinarily vindic- 



Ill 

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Ta/es of a Garrison Town, 



tive, but no woman will be snubbed or insulted in 
public without trying to get even with the offender; 
and Mrs. Buckingham was by no means a person when 
smitten to offer the other cheek. '* I will teach 
these prudes of Halifax a lesson," she said to herself. 
She took just the opposite course with Bertram 
from that she had taken with Gilsby. This con- 
duct showed her to be a woman of keen insight. 
She treated Bertram with respect, even deference, 
and with him discarded for the time her free-and- 
easy air. This in so regal a personage tickled the 
man's vanity. Mrs. Bertram sighed and sulked, 
and shed tears, and put herself in every way at a 
disadvantage. She was not as fme-looking as Mrs. 
Buckingham; but she had a sweet, pure face, with a 
complexion that tears did not improve. This 
sniffling annoyed Bertram. He was not conscious 
that he regarded Mrs. Buckingham in any other 
light than that of an uncomplaining woman who had 
been unjustly treated by the public and insulted by 
his wife. He would have liked, he said to himself, 
to have Mrs. Bertram make the amende honorable by 
calling and apologizing. He did not, however, 
venture to ask her to do so. If she really felt 
aggrieved, why did she not speak out, instead of 
moping around the house? These silent, reproach- 
ful angels were insufferable. He was always sure of 



Mrs, Buckingham' s Revenge. 



117 



by 
'If, 



:h- 
of 



smiles at the other place. If his wife had either a 
little more spirit or a little more good-nature, he 
and she could soon come to a satisfactory explana- 
tion. He was intensely virtuous in his indignation 
at his wife. Come what might, he was not going 
to give up Mrs. Buckingham's society for a silly 
woman's unjust whim. Bertram was touchy on 
points of personal conduct, and none of his friends 
dared say more to him than to hint that he was 
being talked about. This only made him more set 
in his resolution. But poor Mrs. Bertram grew 
more and more distressed. She saw her husband 
gradually falling completely into the power of this 
dreadful woman, who was visiting upon her such an 
excjuisite revenge. She felt that complaints to him 
would be useless, and she was almost in despair. 
She trembled lest he should go so far as to compel 
her to sue for justice in a divorce court. There 
was no telling what tragic thing might happen. 
How could she stop this strange infatuation? Des- 
perate projects, which she had not the courage to 
carry out, flitted through her brain. She had read 
of women's denouncing their rivals in public — even, 
in extremity, of their horsewhipping them; but such 
expedients were of doubtful efficacy, to say nothing 
of the scandal and disgrace they would occasion. 

She thought the matter over carefully, and at last 
8 






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Ta/cs of a Garrison Toivn. 



made up her mind. She took advantage of her hus- 
band's absence for a day in the country, and as soon 
as luncheon was over, slipped on her bonnet and 
veil and took her way to the Halifax Hotel. She 
sent up her card to Mrs. Buckingham and was shown ' 
to that lady's parlor. Trembling visibly, she 
tnew aside her veil and stood before her rival. 
Mrs. Buckingham was sitting dressed in an exquisite 
pink cashmere wrapper, with pink flowers tied into 
the loops of her heavy golden hair, and a pearl and 
diamond star glittering pendent from a heavy gold 
necklet on her breast. As her visitor entered she 
laid down a new French novel and, rising, made 
her a sweeping courtesy. Mrs. Bertram gazed at her 
in astonishment. She had wondered how a woman 
of forty could so have fascinated her husband. The 
secret was explained. This Mrs. Buckingham was 
an artist. Even while she dreaded and hated her, 
Mrs. Bertram was forced to admire the consummate 
skill, even splendid audacity, with which her rival's 
toilet had been composed. Mrs. Buckingham waved 
her gracefully to a chair, " Bray be seated, Mrs. 
Bertram," she said in her sweetest voice. "lam 
so glad you have called! Your husband has often 
spoken of you. " 

This bold thrust quite disconcerted the wife. 
Her lips trembled and she sank into the chair pant- 



Mrs, Buckingham' s Revenge. 



119 



ing, and then, putting her hands to her face, burst 
into tears. • 

"Will you use my vinaigrette, dear Mrs. 
Bertram?" The lady addressed made a mighty 
effort to check herself, and looked up. Mrs. Buck- 
ingham's face was as calm as if it had been carved 
out of stone. She was holding out a silver-mounted 
cut-glass vial with the air of a benignant goddess. 
Mrs. Bertram pushed it away with her hand, '* You 
ought to admire it, it was the gift of your hus- 
band," said the other sweetly. 

The words seemed to sting Mrs. Bertram almost 

beyond endurance. "How dare he?" she exclaimed 

« 
excitedly, and with rising color; "how dare he? 

This is infamous! Why do you add insult to 

injury? Have you no pity, woman? Can you not 

see that you have driven me almost to despair?" 

"Really? Your husband told me that you had 
very little spirit. We are often deceived in the 
characters of those we love. But you forget, dear 
Mrs. Bertram, that it is I who ought to complain of 
being insulted. You remember the military ball, 
do you not ?" 

" I came to ask your forgiveness for that — I did, 
indeed! O Mrs. Buckingham! you have been a 
wife; listen to the prayer of a heart-broken womani 
Give me back my husband!" 



il'f 






I20 



Talcs of a Garrison Tozuii. 






1 ' 

la 



If 
If 



If 



. si 



The words " have been a wife" seemed to electrify 
the grass-widow. She flastied a fierce look at the 
suppliant and drew her lips hard over her teeth, but 
her wonderful self-command asserted itself. Next 
moment she was the same calm, smiling, nonchalant 
woman as before. 

" You make a strange plea," she answered, slightly 
raising her eyebrows. " You are quite mistaken. 
Your husband is nothing to me — not the value of 
that little bottle!" and she gave a contemptuous 
laugh as she held up the vinaigrette daintily 
between her thumb and finger. 

"But he is much to me," cried the wife, her face 
streaming with tears. " Indeed, he was a loving 
husband till he met you, Mrs. Buckingham. He 
would not have left me if you had not lured him 
away. O woman, if you have ever had a child, 
listen to the prayer of a wife who is soon to be a 
mother! Would you embitter a husband's heart 
against his wife and alienate him from her in the 
midst of her suffering? Would you lay a burden of 
reproach upon an innocent child ? You are a ter- 
rible woman, but you are said sometimes to have a 
generous heart. You have a thousand admirers. I 
had but one, and he was my all. I worshipped him 
— worship him still. If I did you wrong I am truly 
sorry for it, and you have paid me back a hundred- 



I 

I 




" Mrs. Buckingham rose. ' Please let go my gown,' she said, in 
a quiet tone." 



it 



I 




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il IS I 



Mrs. Buckingham 5 kn^cnge. 



123 



fold. You can do with him what you will. Then 
give him back to me, or I shall die!" 

The wife's voice was choked with sobs. She 
knelt at Mrs. Buckingham's feet, and in an aban- 
donment of entreaty buried her hands in the 
soft, flowing pink robe. Mrs. Buckingham rose. 
"Please let go of my gown," she said in a quiet 
tone. She walked up and down the room with 
swift, panther-like steps, laughing a little to her- 
self; but mixed with her triumph there was evidently 
some feeling of compassion for the helpless victim 
at her feet. Mrs. Bertram, with the intuition of 
despair, had usee* the only plea which could have 
been successful. Mrs. Buckingham was proof 
against the appeal of the wife, but that of the 
mother was irresistible. No woman not utterly 
depraved could resist it. Suddenly she paused in 
front of the still kneeling wife, and her eyes soft- 
ened. " I understand that you apologize for your 
wanton insult to me at the ball ?" she said quietly, 

"Indeed — indeed I do! I have regretted it for a 
long time." 

"That is well. Now promise me you will not 
torment your husband because he has been friendly 
with me! No reproaches, you understand!" 

"I will forgive and forget all if he will only 
come back to me!" 



I 



124 



Tales of a Garrison Town. 



\ > 



>lif 



"That is well, too. Now for the third condition. 
When you hear the name of Mrs. Buckingham 
aspersed, you will say that whatever her faults may 
be she is not devoid of generosity and womanly 
feeling?" 

The wife silently assented, and Mrs. Buckingham 
gave her her hand. " We have been quite melo- 
dramatic, " she said, in her half-mocking tone, as 
she helped the young wife to her feet. " I suppose 
you will not want me to name the baby? Never 
fear!" she added, laughing, as she saw an alarmed 
look come over Mrs. Bertram's face. "You know I 
am a great stickler for the proprieties, and perhaps 
it would hardly do. Make your mind easy about 
your husband. I give him back to you as a Christ- 
mas present," and she showed the bewildered and 
happy wife to the door. "Since I am to act the 
part of good fairy, you must remember my condi- 
tions, or ucx/ time I will not let you off so easily. 
En aviifif, you good little soul! and don't tell your 
husband that you have been here!" 

"Was ever such effrontery!" said Mrs. Bertram 
to herself when she had got over her bewilderment; 
"but there is something grand about the woman. I 
don't wonder men admire her. If she will only 
keep her word!" 

Next day came Bertram to pay his usual respects 



Mrs. Buckingham's Revenge, 



125 



to Mrs. Buckingham. He had brought her a 
splendid bouquet of flowers. She received him very 
coolly. 

"Really, my friend," she said, looking out of 
the window, "aren't you troubling yourself about 
me a little too much ?" 

Bertram's face grew red. "What do you mean?" 
he stammered. 

" Oh, my friend, this Platonic affection has gone 
far enough. Very interesting and delightful while 
it lasted, but I assure you I am tired of it. By the 
way, when did you last present your wife with such 
a bouquet as this?" 

" My wife ? Why do you ask the question ?" 

"Oh, simply because I suspect that sweet little 
morsel of femininity has been somewhat neglected 
of late! Is it true that she is soon to become a 
mother?" 

Bertram winced. "Who told you this?" he said. 

" My dear man, can you do nothing but ask ques- 
tions? I suppose I heard it along with other gossip. 
But seriously, I cannot afford to be talked about 
in connection with you, Mr. Bertram." 

"You have suddenly come to that conclusion." 

" Suddenly, as you say. But go! You weary me! 
You men are all alike! Trying to be Bohemian 
and respectable at the same time, you get into a 



I 



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126 



Tales of a Garrison Town, 



false position and grow dull. Now, I am a thor- 
ough Bohemian. I dislike compromises. Go home 
to your little wife and be respectable! By all 
accounts she is much too good for you. If you let 
her cry her eyes out over your neglect I will find 
means to punish you. Adieu ! If the baby is a girl 
you may name her after me. I trust it will be 
agreeable to your wife. Of course I expect now to 
be cut dead. Well, well! We may all meet in 
heaven, you know," and Mrs. Buckingham bowed 
him out. 



I: I 



IH 



10 r- 

»me 

all 

let 

ind 

[irl 

be 

to 

in 

ed 



THE REVEREND WASHINGTON 
HAM'S TRIUMPH. 



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THE REVEREND WASHINGTON 
HAM'S TRIUMPH. 



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** De tnud-turtic have no cauM to stick tip his nose nt de frog." 

— Nbgro Provbrb. 



The Reverend Washington Ham was a colored 
Baptist revivalist. He was born some time in the 
" thirties," at the Joggin, some two or three miles 
from the town of Digby. He was stout-built, 
bull-necked, bossy-faced, and as black as the ace 
of spades. His wool, tightly corkscrewed to his 
bullet head, was at the period of this story already 
becoming grizzled by advancing age. Uncorrupted 
by the schools, the Reverend Washington expounded 
the Scriptures with most literal exactness, .and swore 
especially by the Pentateuch and the Song of Solo- 
mon. He had a predilection for mixing up the 
Mosaic record with his favorite doctrines of " Pre- 
destination" and " Immersion" in a way extremely 
gratifying to his congregations. He was in the 
habit of draping his discourses in the pictorial 
splendors of Revelation, and constructing therefrom 

a theology as unique as it was entertaining. He 

129 






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Talcs of a Garrison Tozvn. 



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was accustomed to travel from one end of the prov- 
ince to the other, tarrying for longer or shorter 
seasons with his colored brethren of both the Baptist 
and Methodist persuasions, at Hammond's Plains, 
Windsor Forks, the Pine Woods, and the Joggin. 
He was a powerful exhorter — a very Boanerges — 
and his deep bass tones could be heard of a Sunday 
a quarter of a mile from the scene of his ministra- 
tion. So empaatically did he thump the pulpit 
Bibles that in one or two visitations they became 
pitiful wrecks, and their places had to be supplied 
by new ones. It therefore became the custom, when- 
ever the fervent revivalist appeared, to put an old 
book before him in place of the new and let the 
Reverend Washington thump it to his heart's content. 
He was very popular with his brother clergymen, 
except with those who strongly opposed his two car- 
dinal doctrines of Predestination and Immersion. 
On these points the Reverend Washington was 
inexorable; and in almost all cases his feelings were 
considered, and he was allowed to speak his mind 
freely without open opposition. 

There was one pastor, however, who, by the 
importance of his position, once ventured boldly 
to oppose the favorite doctrines of the revivalist. 
This was the Reverend Persimmons Jones, a Metho- 
dist, who presided over a very aristocratic colored 



The Rev, Washington Ham s Triumph. 131 



church in Richmond Street, Halifax. The Rever- 
end Persimmons had been to an academy, and there- 
fore looked down with lofty disdain on the learning 
of the Reverend Washington Ham. But however 
much he despised the lack of erudition of his Baptist 
brother, the Reverend Persimmons was obliged to 
yield to the voice of his congregation, who clamored 
for a visit from the noted revivalist. The invita- 
tion was at last given, and the Reverend Washing- 
ton promptly responded. He ascended the pulpit of 
the Richmond Street Church with a feeling of pride 
in his prophetic function, which was not lessened 
when he saw the scowling face of the Reverend Per- 
simmons Jones in a conspicuous place in the front 
row of seats. The building was packed, and ex- 
pectation was on tip-toe. The revivalist, in a de- 
liberate tone, skirmished awhile with the Book 
of Genesis, rapidly passed on to Exodus, dwelt at 
some length on Leviticus, next made a plunge into 
the sensuous imagery of the Song of Solomon, and 
then began to enlarge on his two favorite doctrines. 
" I's come here to ax yuh," said the Reverend 
Washington, letting his eye glance across the scalp 
of the Reverend Persimmons Jones, " what de Script- 
ures means when dey says dat two wimmin will be 
grindin' at demill an* one'U be tucken an' de udder 
left? Dat pints to de great doctrin* uv Predestina- 




132 



Tales of a Garrison Town. 






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tion. Der ain't no gittin' aroun' a cornder 'bout 
dati We's predessined — some to be saints an' some 
to be sinnahs, just like one yearo' corn is to be full 
an' anudder all shrivelled an' mildewed, or one 
calf a poor shoat an' anudder de makin' uv a 
X skrumptious cattle. Yuse got to b'lieve; an' when 
de Lawd comes yer way, if yuse got de right bran' 
on yuh he's goin* to take yuh, anyway. Yo needn't 
hab no fear uv dat! Yo may a bin ez wicked as 
ole Harry hisself all yer life, but if yo repents 
yuh's all right. De Lawd ain't takin' no notice uv 
afterclaps what's gone afore; all he's lookin' arter 
iz what yo are now. An' I tells yuh, yuh's predes- 
sined to repent like yuh wor befoh to sin, an' dat's 
cle reason why de Lawd's got some 'scuse foh takin' 
yuh. Iz dat cleah in yuh minds, breverin?" 

Many of the brethren nodded emphatic assent, 
but the Reverend Persimmons Jones knitted his 
brows and moved uneasily on his seat. The orator 
again took up the thread of his discourse. 

" De great doctrin* uv Predestination bein' set- 
tled, let us take a squint at de nex' great pint in de 
scheme uv salvation. Yuse repented, but how's 
yuh goin' to get de papahs as shows yuh repentance 
iz done accordin' to order? Bv Baptizzum! But 
what kin' uv baptizztiinl Yuse got yuh papahs, but 
how's yuh goin' to show yuh papahs is in ordeh ? 



The Rev, Washington Hani s Triumph. 133 



'■ 



's 
fe 
It 
It 
? 



Dat's de pint I'm axin' uv yuh! What's de kin* 
iiv baptizzum yuse a-goin' foh? Breverin, dere's 
only one kin' uv baptizzum dat's wuth shucks. 
Dere's only one kin' uv baptizzum dat'll give yuh 
clean papahs foh de skies; an' dat kin' uv baptizzum 
am Immershun!" 

At these words there was quite a sensation in the 
meeting, for the Reverend Persimmons Jones had 
been inculcating an entirely opposite doctrine. 
There was a craning of necks to catch a glimpse 
of the pastor, and a whispering and nodding all 
over the congregation. The Reverend Washington 
cleared his throat and proceeded: 

"I's prepared to back up de doctrin' uv Immer- 
shun by superstanshul Scriptur' prufhs. What foh 
why wuz Jonah frew inter de sea an' de whale swal- 
lered him, if it wa'ant to pint de argermint uv Im- 
mershun? If de Lawd wanted Jonah sprinkled, 
wouldn't he a-sent de spray a-flyin' all ober de wes- 
sel ? Cose he would! De Lawd don't take no 
trouble foh nuffin. An' how much watah do yuh 
s'pose de whale swallered alongside Jonah? Hogs- 
heads an' hogsheads! An' Jonah swum around dere 
in de whale's belly tree days an' tree nights, an' 
got baptized all troo, an' den he war fit to go to 
Ninevar. An' den didn't de prorfit tell dat Sy-re-an 
captain to have sebben times in Johdan ? What wuz 



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Ta/es of a Garrison Toivn. 



dat foh ? It wuz to hyperbolicalize de great doctrin' 
uv Immershun. De feller wuz all pock-marked wid 
lepersy, which in youh case, my breverin, signifi- 
cations sin. Dere yuse got it in black an' white. 
But I's gwine to gib yuh stronger prufhs dan dat. 
Yuse all learned to line out dese yere verses taken 

frum de Sams uv de bressed Apos'le Daniel: 

• 

" ' Der iz a fountain filled wid blood 
Drawn frum Immanuel's veins. 
An' sinnahs plunged bcncaf dut flood 
Loose all der guilty stains.' 

"What does dat signify? De great doctrin' uv 
Immershun!" 

But here the orator was suddenly interrupted. 
The Reverend Persimmons Jones had been seething 
with indignation and fierce mental protest while 
these extremely subversive doctrines were being ex- 
pounded from his own pulpit to his chosen flock. 
At this part of the address he had reached the ex- 
ploding point, and professional courtesy could no 
longer hold sway over his feelings. He snorted 
with indignation, started excitedly to his feet and 
faced his people, who sat open-mouthed, drinking 
in the words of the Reverend Washington Ham. 

" I denounces sich doctrin' !" he called out. 
" It's a subvertin' uv de faith uv dis yere church. I 
calls upon de Reverind Washington Ham to waycate 
de pulpit uv dis church! De Reverind Washington 



The Rev, Washington Ham' s Triumph. 13$ 

Ham quotes deScriptur', but what does hisScriptur' 
'mount to? It's no more applipliable dan haulin' 
mud to men' a road! I kin quote Scriptur' dead 
agin him. What does dis mean ? 

" ' Wash me an' I will be whiter dan snow.' 



" De Reverind Washington Ham would say it 
meaned Immershun! All humbug! It don't mean 
nuffin uv de kin' ! Do yuh s'pose we cullud pussons 
is a-goin' to be washed ivhitc? No, sah! De cullud 
pussons is goin' to be cullud pussons in heaven as 
well's here. How do yuh s'pose yurd know yuh 
friens if it twarn't so? No, my breverin, don't run 
away wid sich foolish notions as dese uv de Rever- 
ind Washington Ham's! How wuz it dey honorized 
folks in de Chillun uv Isrul's day ? Why, dey poured 
ile on der heads! But ile's mighty expensive wid 
us, an* so we chooses water. We jus' drops water 
nuff to keep from wettin' de close, an' dere yu have 
yuh baptizzum! Reverind Washington Ham, come 
down out uv dat yer pulpit, an' don't be preachin* 
Anti-Christ to dis yere Richmond Street Church!" 

But the famous revivalist was not to be so easily 
silenced. His heavy bass voice rang out and over- 
whelmed the penny-trumpet tones of his rival, and 
it was clear that he had the majority of those 

present with him. He reaffirmed his cardinal doc- 
9 



i 

? 

i" ■ 



li 



136 



Ta/es of a Garrison Town, 



trine with immense emphasis, till the leaves of the 
pulpit Bible flew broadcast over the congregation. 
His fervent and sonorous oratory completely 
drowned the protesting voice of the Reverend Per- 
simmons Jones. He ended in a triumphant perora- 
tion that shook the house, in the midst of which the 
Apposing clergyman staV^ '! out of the building, 
followed by a faithful few. Like a prudent general, 
the Reverend Washington pursued his advantage and 
grasped at the fruits of victory. He saw the heads 
of the congregation wavri to and fro and bow 
before the blast of his oratory i.x ripened wheat 
before a northwest wind. He kne.v '^y long ex- 
perience that the flood-gates ci a ic '^'il were 
opened, and he rushed triumphantly into the dazzling 
mysteries of Revelation. He piled metaphor on 
hyperbole and hyperbole on metaphor, and then 
toppled the gorgeous structure upon the heads of 
the congregation. The effect upon his audience 
was indescribable. Some started to their feet, their 
eyes rolling in a kind of frenzy, spun round in the 
aisles, and fell fainting on the floor; others clapped 
their hands in ecstatic fervor, wagging their heads 
from side to side, and shouting "Glory!" " Hal- 
leujah!" "Amen!" " Bress de Lawd!" and other ex- 
clamations of religious joy. Through and above all 
this grotesque confusion the bass voice of the Rev- 



si;,:,; 



The Rev. Washington Hain s Triumph. 137 



,11 



erend Washington Ham thundered and bellowed like 
the last great trump of the Apocalypse itself. Then, 
suddenly, he stopped and stretched out his arms at 
full length, and silence gradually settled upon the 
congregation. 

"I calls on all who wishes to be saved accordin' 
to de principles uv Baptizzum and Predestination 
to hoi' up deir ban's!" An almost universal show- 
ing of hands followed. "Now, who's willin' to be 
baptized accordin' to de 'bove formerluh?" A 
goodly number responded. "Well, breverin, I 
fin* yuh here like as sheep as hasn't got no shep- 
herd, an' my heart trabbels over yuh in fear an* 
sufferin*. I's willin' to stay an' see yuse out uv 
dis yere fix. I's gwine to hoi' a baptizzum down 
on de shoh nex' Toosday, an' all uv yuse as wants 
to be baptized in de true way will meet me here at 
two o'clock in de arternoon, to jine in a perses- 
sional." Then the Reverend Washington Ham 
came down from the pulpit and received the con- 
gratulations of his friends. 

The eventful Tuesday came, and a large concourse 
of the colored brethren made their way to the shore. 
At the head of his contingent, surrounded by his 
candidates for baptism, majestically marched the 
Reverend Washington Ham, Bible in hand. At. 
least two-thirds of the church-members followed 



I' 



W^^ 



138 



Ta/cs of a Garrison Town. 



him, and like Joshua of old the heart of the great 
revivalist was mightily lifted up as he led with a 
stentorian voice the singing of this revival hymn — 

" De l^wd is a-comin' to take yuh home : 

Oil, come I^wd soon ! 
Where yuse got no chance no more to roam : 

Oh, come Lawd soon ! 
Wid his spankin' hosses an' chariot o' fire, 
A-comin' in his mussy an' a-comin' in his ire, 
An' he'll whip de wicked darkeys wid de scorpion an' de brier : 

Oh, come Lawd soon ! 

" De lion an' de unicorn day's lyin' wid de lamb : 

Oh, come Lawd soon ! 
We's gwine wid de Rcverind Washington Ham : 

Oh, come Lawd soon ! 
We's gwine to get our papahs foh de skies, 
On de wings uv salvation to wobble an' to rise 
An' to wash away de teahs from our black an' sinful eyes : 

Oh, come I^wd soon !" 

— which his enthusiastic followers accompanied with 
a vigorous clapping of hands and wagging of heads 
and an ecstatic rolling of eyes as the strains rose 
and fell. But just as they reached the little cove 
where the baptism was to take place, another party, 
led by the Reverend Persimmons Jones, appeared 
upon the scene. All silently they filed down to the 
shore to watch the proceedings of the rival band. 
Many fierce looks were exchanged between the 
opposing factions, but no overt act of hostility 
was attempted. The party of the Reverend Per- 
simmons seemed to be in an expectant mood, as 
though looking for something unusual to happen. 



The Rev, Washington Ham s Triumph. 139 

Into the water marched the Reverend Washington 
Ham, his black bombazine robe floating proudly 
around him, while after him followed the candidates 
for baptism. One by one they were dipped under 
by the powerful arm of the revivalist, and as each 
came out dripping and sputtering, the little army 
of enthusiasts broke forth in a hymn which owed its 
inspirational fervor to the gifted Washington him- 
self: 

" Vuh's candy-tlatcs fur dc udder wfirl' ; 

Hrcddcrin, bress dc I^iwd ! 
De man an' dc missus, dc boy an' dc girl : 

Hrcddcrin, bress dc Lawd ! 
On Johdan's banks yuh've tooiccn yuh stan', 
An' yuh's waitin' fcr dc ferry to dc udder Ian': 
Oh, come, my brudder, give us yuh han' : 

Hrcddcrin, bress dc I^wd ! 

*' Olc Moses he trabbel a lonesome way : 

Hrcddcrin, bress de I^iwd ! 
De chillun uv Isrul dey go astray ; 

Hrcddcrin, bress de I^wd ! 
Dey's got no use fer mistakes in hebben, 
Hut dey'll let ye in if de hour's elebbcn 
Out of dc furniss bake sebbcn times scbben : 

Bredderin, bress de Lawd ! " 



M 



;r- 



as 
in. 



The concluding notes of the hymn had died 
away, and up to this time the party of the Reverend 
i'ersimmons Jones had not moved nor said a word. 
The last candidate had been dipped, and the bap- 
tizer himself had come out of the water and was 
standing with his drenched devotees under the wall 
of a large untenanted house which stood near the 



Itr ; I 



» ; 



1 1,. 



1: 



140 



TaUs of a Garrison Town. 




water's edge, when the Reverend Persimmons Jones 
stepped out from among his followers and said to 
the other party: 

" I s'pose yuh's in de odor uv sanctity now, 
breverin? But de true baptizzum is still waitin' 
foh yuh. Yuse got now to get dem clean papahs 
fer de skies dat de Reverind Washington Ham talks 
about." 

The words were no sooner said than from a frame- 
less window of the old house the contents of a bag 
of flour were dexterously sifted upon the heads of 
the Reverend Washington Ham and his newly-bap- 
tized converts. A yell of triumph arose from the 
party of the Reverend Persimmons Jones, and a 
howl of rage from the party of the Reverend Wash- 
ing-ton Ham. A rush into the building was made 
to L'jize the perpetrator of this effective practical 
joke, but whoever he was he had prudently decamped 
in time. Meanwhile, the baptized brethren were 
grotesque objects, for the flour had turned to dough 
and stuck like wax to their wool, faces, and gar- 
ments. A scramble was made for the water, and 
a tremendous Clawing and scrubbing took place, 
acompanied by the taunts and revilings of the rival 
faction, who wisely kept at a distance. But the Rev- 
erend Washington Ham was too dignified to cleanse 
himself in the presence of his enemies. He said 



Id 



The Rev. Washington Hani s Triumph. 141 

majestically: " Breverin, I's not goin' to scratch 
one gob uv dis yere flour offen. me till I gets back 
to de church. I's goin' to show de Reverind Per- 
simmons Jones dat I ain't afeard to suffah foh de 
Gospel." So, besmeared as he was, he took up his 
position again at the head of his party and pro- 
ceeded back to the church, leading his followers in 
the hymn — 

" O children, ain't ye glad 
You've left that sinful army? 
O children, ain't ye glad 
The sea gave away? 
When Muses smote the water, 
The children all passed over; 
When Moses smote the water. 
The sea gave away." 

— while behind came a chorus of voices of the oppo- 
site party, led by the Reverend Persimmons Jones, 
singing these significant lines: 

" See the hosts of sin advancing, 
Satan leading on ! " 

In appearance, the Reverend Washington might 
indeed have stood for the Prince of Darkness, if 
hideousness is an attribute of his Satanic Majesty. 
The flour, turned to dough, had dried on his face 
and in his wool and had run down in streaks over 
his bombazine robe. The blackness of his skin 
stt these patches of dirty-white in glaring contrast, 
gnd nev^r did a more frightful-looking being parade 



142 



Talcs of a Garrison Toivn, 



\\ 



f » 



' r 



If; '. 



l1' i 



I; 



the Halifax streets. Amid a hootinji; crowd the 
Reverend Washington Ham elbowed his way back 
to the Richmond Street ('hurch, the whole congre- 
gation following him — the party of the Reverend 
Persimmons Jones bringing up the rear. 

" Yuh sees me here, Reverind Persimmons Jones," 
he said, after he had ascended the pulpit and order 
had been restored, " the wictim uv an' ondecent 
assault; an' you wuz de fabricator uv it. But I 
forgives yuh! Take back yuh congregation an' 
preach de true doctrin' uv Predestination an' Immer- 
shun! If yuh don't, dese yere lob' sheep'll rise up 
'ginst yuh on de Day uv Judgmen', as de chillun 
uv Isrul did 'ginst Sodom an' Clormorrer. Brev- 
erin, I gives yuh my blessin' an' departs in de Name 
uv de I.awd," and the revivalist stepped down and 
vanished into the vestry. He was discovered an 
hour later by the Reverend Persmmions Jones, with 
his head in the vestry-basin, still engaged in digging 
the dough out of his wool. 

*' Foh de Lawd's sake!" exclaimed the astonished 
Persimmons Jones. 

"Yes, brudder," replied the Reverend Washing- 
ton, lifting his streaming face from the basin and 
complacently regarding the pastor, " foh de Lawd's 
sake!" 





" ' Foh de Lawd's sake !' exclaimed the astonished Persimmons 
Jones." 



; i 



COURT-MARTIALLED. 



; 

ill 



COURT-MARTIALLED. 



'• His honor rooted in dishonor stood." — Tennyson. 



" Sergeant O'Neil drunk again, sir!" says the 
Orderly, touching his cap to Colonel Knevet, of the 
Lincoln Greys, 

The Colonel swore. " I am tired of this sort of 
thing, Marcham," he said to the Adjutant, who 
sat writing at the office table; "the regiment has 
been disgraced long enough by O' Neil's sprees. 
They are having a bad influence, too, on the men. No 
less than five guard-room cases for drunkenness this 
week! By all the powers of war, I'll stop it! O'Neil 
has been a good soltlier and a useful man, but the 
devil seems to have got into him lately. You had 
better order a court-martial for ten to-morrow morn- 
ing. O'Neil is under arrest, Kinsley?" 

"Yes, sir, in the guard-room," replied Kinsley. 

" Very well ; bring; me Captain Jones' report. 
We'll have to make an example of O'Neil, Mar- 
cham. We must be all the harder on him, as he is a 

favorite with the men." 

H7 






i 



148 



Talcs of a Garrison Town, 



The Colonel paced with a restless step up and 
down the office and glanced gloomily out of the 
window at the driving rain, for the day was cheer- 
less and wet. He was out of sorts, and the state of 
the weather did not improve his spirits. Besides, 
he was a strict disciplinarian, and he was annoyed 
and mortified by the late reports of drunkenness 
among his men. The Colonel rarely swore, but 
when he did it was a sign of much perturbation of 
mind. 

Next morning, on the stroke of ten, the Adjutant, 
as judge, took his seat, with the Colonel and Major 
on one side of him and three captains on the other. 
The accused Sergeant was marched into the room, 
a soldier on each side of him and a corporal in the 
rear. There was little formality about the proceed- 
ings. The Adjutant read to the prisoner a report 
containing the charge of drunkenness, and asked 
him if he pleaded guilty or not. 

"Guilty," said the offender in a low voice. His 
eyes were bloodshot, and his hang-dog air showed 
plainly his present sense of shame, as well as his 
yesterday's dissipation. The Adjutant stood up to 
read the sentence. 

"Have you anything to say, O'Neil, why sentence 
should not be passed upon you?" he said. " If you 
have, it shall be considered by the court. If not. 



Coiirt-Martiallcd. 



149 



it has been determined to make an example of 
you." 

O'Neil, a grizzled veteran, looked up for an 
instant at the Colonel, and then dropped his eyes. 
"Nothing, sir," he answered dejectedly. 

The Colonel stood up. 

"O'Neil," he said in a stern voice, "this is the 
eighth time this year you have been in the guard- 
room on account of drunkenness. This record for 
an officer is outrageous. You have disgraced Her 
Majesty's service in general and your own regi- 
ment in particular. Have you anything to say for 
yourself?" 

O'Neil's lips moved, but the words were inaudible. 

"Very well. Adjutant, pronounce sentence," said 
the Colonel. 

The Adjutant addressed O'Neil in a calm, formal 
tone: "It is the judgment of the court that you be 
degraded to the ranks in the presence of the regi- 
ment, which will involve the tearing of your ser- 
geant's stripes from your uniform at this afternoon's 
parade. Your own captain concurs in the sentence, 
and it is approved unanimously by the court." 

"Oh, God, sir!" replied O'Neil, in a heartrending 
voice, as the tears gushed from his eyes, "can't it 
be done in private? Four-and-twenty years have I 
served under the colors, and twenty of 'em with the 



f. 



f: I 



■ ;i^- ' 



,1 1 









150 



Ta/cs of a Garrison Town, 



Greys. It'll break my heart, sir, to be disgraced 
afore the rigimint! I'd rather that you'd shoot me 
out an' out. I haven't a word to say agin the justice 
av the coort. It knows best, but the divil'll git me 
if I lose the respect av the boys." 

The poor fellow's lip trembled, and he wiped his 
face with the cuff of his tarnished uniform. 

"I'm sorry for you, O'Neil," said the Colonel, 
"but the judgment is irrevocable. Discipline in 
the regiment must be maintained. Had you been 
of lower rank, yc .r sentence might have been 
lighter; but I ca» have no soldier of the rank of 
sergeant continually getting drunk. Corporal, re- 
move the prisone !" 

O'Neil was m irched out, looking as th igh he 
were being led to instant execution. The officers in 
the little court-rjom looked grave. The Sergeant's 
appeal was or j which touched their hearts as sol- 
diers, and they felt deeply sorry for him, but they 
had all concurred in the sentence. Discipline must 
be maintained. The regiment was assembled for 
the Colonel's parade, and the afternoon had cleared 
off fair. There was an expectant, awed look on the 
faces of the men. The Colonel's critical eye 
glanced over the regiment. Then he turned to his 
Orderly. 



Court' Martiallcd. 



151 



t( 



Kinsley," he said, "order Sergeant O'Neil 
present under guard!" 

In a few minutes O'Neil, white as a sheet and 
with his head bowed, was placed facing the regi- 
ment. The Colonel gave a sign with his hand, and 
two sergeants stepped from the ranks and stood 
beside their comrade. With faces that looked as 
if they did not relish their employment, they slowly 
tore the straps ftom the sleeves of O' Neil's 
uniform. The disgraced soldier did not look up, 
even when a rifie was thrust into his hands, but 
silently took his place in the ranks. The impres- 
sive hush was suddenly broken by the Colonel's 
ordering an evolution. Then he gave a few more 
rapid commands and the parade closed. O'Neil 
avoided his comrades and slunk off to his quarters. 
He sat there with his head buried in his hands, his 
soul filled with bitter despair. That night he could 
not sleep; the scene of his disgrace was ever presen*: 
with him, and he tossed restlessly to and fro. He 
arose in the morning, pale and hnggard, and could 
eat no breakfast. He was put on the early guard, 
and paced the ramparts all the forenoon. He had 
but one thought — to end his misery. It was all 
he could do to carry his head erect and march up 
and down his beat. He fancied that he was a mark 



f 



1,1 



•■.■ 



ii 



il 
I 



I 



152 



Ta/es of a Garrison Town. 



for all eyes, and if any one came near him his face 
flushed and a spasm of shame went through him. 
As soon as he was off duty he made his way through 
town, and went out upon a wharf near the Dart- 
mouth Ferry, He sat down on the edge of the 
wharf, with his legs hanging over the water. He 
put his elbows on his knees and propped his head 
with his hands. His cap fell off and floated away, 
but he never noticed the loss. The low, monotonous 
lap of the tide against the timbers mingled with the 
melancholy brooding of his thought. He was in 
that dreamy, half-unconscious state which often 
comes upon intending suicides immediately before 
taking the fatal step. He may have sat there half 
an hour, but it seemed to him an eternity. Finally 
he raised his bleared eyes and took one last look 
around. The ferry-boat was at that minute leaving 
for Dartmouth, and he saw the Colonel's little 
daughter running about the after-deck, while her 
nurse sat on a bench near the passageway. No one 
else was in sight, and he felt that he could take his 
plunge without being noticed. To die decently and 
quietly was now his only wish. He threw his arms 
out and bent forward, when a shrill cry startled him. 
He looked up and saw the nurse-maid run shrieking 
to the side of the boat. The little girl had gone 
too near the edge and had tripped and fallen into 



Court' Martialhd. 



153 



the water. A number of passengers and deck-hands 
rushed aft in time to see the form of a man plunge 
from an adjacent wharf and swim with powerful 
strokes toward the drowning child. A cry went up, 
and the boat's engines were reversed. The man, 
who wore a soldier's uniform, was just in time for 
the rescue. The child was going down when he 
grasped her long, floating hair and lifted her swoon- 
ing figure out of the waves. He battled strenuously 
with his other arm, and his strength was almost 
gone, when a life-preserver thrown from the boat 
fell close beside him. In a few minutes more he 
was lifted with his apparently lifeless burden into 
the ferry-boat, amid the cheers of -the passengers. 
The boat put back to the wharf, and by vigorous 
and timely exertions the child was brought to con- 
sciousness, and was then rapidly driven to the 
Colonel's house. Inquiry was made for the soldier, 
but in the confusion of the arrival at the wharf he 
had disappeared. Who could it have been? The 
overjoyed and thankful Colonel asked if the man 
had given his name, but found merely that he was 
a private soldier. Whoever he was, he had gone off 
so quietly that no one had had a chance to ask his 
name. 

" I'll put him in O'Neil's place when I find him!" 

cried the Colonel. "A fellow as brave and modest 
10 






Iliij 



I 



ll 



154 



Talcs of a Garrison Town. 



as that deserves some substantial recognition. It 
isn't usual for a private to neglect such a good 
opportunity to stand well in the regiment. And, 
by Jove! I'll give the fellow, when I find him, a 
hundred pounds, too, out of my own private purse!" I 

He then turned to fondle his little daughter, 
while his wife hysterically laughed and cried by 
turns. 

Late in the afternoon the Orderly brought in a 
military cap soaked with salt water. "A boatman 
left this at the office, sir," he said. " It may belong 
to the man who rescued Miss Dorothy." 

The Colonel eagerly seized and examined it. 
"What is that written on the band, Kinsley?" he 
said; "the water has half obliterated the words." 

Kinsley took the cap and went to the window. 
"The name of Sergeant O'Neil, sir," he answered, 
handing the cap back to the Colonel. 

" By George, it must have been O'Neil ! It's just 
such a thing as the fellow would do! Send for the 
man, Kinsley. No, let it be till the morning 
parade." The Colonel walked up and down the 
room excitedly. "As gallant a fellow as ever put 
on a uniform! This is returning good for evil quite 
in the Scripture way," he said. 

The next morning the regiment, as usual, was 
drawn up under the eye of the Colonel. He was 



Court 'Martialled, 



155 



eagerly scanning the ranks. The men all had an 
expectant look, easily detected by a military eye. 
P^ach one glanced sideways at his comrade, curious 
to see if he was to be the recipient of a reward; for 
the story of the rescue of the Colonel's daughter 
by some unknown private had got abroad among 
them. 

"'Tention!" Every eye was turned upon the 
Colonel. 

"Private O'Neil, Company C, step out of the 
ranks!" 

Private O'Neil stepped out and saluted. 

"Come here, sir!" continued the Colonel sternly. 
" Does this cap belong to you ?" 

O'Neil took it, looked at it, and handed it back 
with a bow. 

"How did you lose it?" 

"I dropped it into the harbor, sir." 

" Where were you when you lost it ?" 

"Sitting on the edge of a wharf, sir." 

"What were you doing there?" 

The answer came with reluctance, " I was goin' to 
drown myself, sir." 

"And what right, sir, has one of Her Majesty's 
soldiers to drown himself?" 

The private did not answer. 

"O'Neil," said the Colonel, bending his head 



156 



Tales of a Garrison Town. 



I 



toward the man and looking earnestly into his eyes, 
"was it you who saved my little girl's life?" 

" It was them on the ferry-boat as saved us 
both, sir." 

" I see. Private O'Neil, receive this from me." 

The Colonel took from his breast-pocket a small 
package and placed it in O'Neil's hands. "In 
three months' time, if your conduct is good, you 
will be reinstated in your old rank. To a brave 
man, conspicuous praise for such a deed is unneces- 
sary. I will not offer it to you now. Come to 
my house this evening at eight. My wife and little 
daughter wish to see you. You may remain acting 
sergeant, and, if you do not touch liquor in the 
mean while, in three months you will be given back 
your stripes." 

" I will never drink again, sir, as long as I live!" 
said O'Neil, in a husky voice, saluting the Colonel. 
Then, with head erect and with flashing eye, he 
turned and faced the regiment. 

The Colonel's firm, deep voice rang forth: 
"Greys, salute Sergeant O'Neil for brave and 
meritorious conduct!" 

A low murmur of approval rippled through the 
ranks at this unwonted honor to a comrade, and the 
hand of every officer and private in the regiment 
was raised to the salute. 



IS 



11 
;n 

m 
re 

s- 
:o 
le 

S 
\e 



TOO TRUTHFUL SPIRITS. 



1. 
te 

i: 



It 






hi 



M, 'i 



M 



TOO TRUTHFUL SPIRITS. 



I can call spirits from the vasty deep."— Henky IV. 



To the Halifax Hotel came one day Professor 
Suckling and his wife. At least that was the 
record they left scrawled on the register, which is 
all we know about it. The Professor's appearance 
belied his name, for he looked about as well- 
seasoned as smoke-dried venison. He had long, 
lank hair, lantern jaws, and sleepy-looking black 
eyes. He wore a threadbare suit of black and had 
a generally unkempt and battered air. Even his 
finger-nails helped on his dilapidated and funereal 
aspect. His wife, as fat as he was lean, had 
puffy eyes and a gross, sensual mouth, which wore 
a continual smirk. She was developed like a 
pouter-pigeon and walked without any inflection of 
the body. There were only two callings in which 
such characters could have been engaged — quack 
medicine and spiritualism. The Professor and his 
wife were "mediums." 

They hired a second-class public hall and began 

159 



i6o 



Tales of a Garrison Town, 



m 



their sdances. These were rather a novelty in 
the town, and the place was packed nightly. The 
spirits conducted themselves in the most approved 
manner, and the gymnastics done upon the stage 
were marvellous and inexplicable. The Professor 
would be bound hand and foot in the cabinet, and 
the usual bell-ringing, chair-thumping, and rope- 
flinging would instantly follow, when the medium 
would be discovered, like Samson, free of his 
bonds. The spirits of any one's ancestors, to the 
third or fourth generation, would promptly respond 
to invi;;ation, as if they had all along been waiting 
for the medium to come and give them a holiday. 
They showed the most astonishing familiarity with 
the personal affairs of their inquiring relatives, 
which posthumous knowledge plainly indicated that, 
like the ghost of Hamlet's father, they had been 
keeping all along a weather-eye out on mundane 
affairs. A stream of gold trickled into the pockets 
of the cadaverous Professor and his pudgy wife. 
What was still more alarming, some people got so in- 
fatuated with them that they gave up church-going 
and swore by the gospel of the spirits. The minis- 
ters took up arms in defence of their flocks, and 
loudly denounced Professor Suckling from their 
pulpits; but the fiercest denunciations came from 
the zealous and aggressive Young Men's Christia^rx 



Too Truthful Spirits. 



i6i 



Association. Its members prayed and exhorted 
against the new doctrines, which were leading un- 
wary souls so far astray; they gave out tracts on the 
street-corners filled with warnings in the tone of 
Jeremiah; and at last, calling a meeting to consider 
the situation, they appointed a committee to inves- 
tigate and expose these artful servants of Satan. 
At the head of the committee was Deacon Smythe, 
a wholesale provision merchant, a great local 
light, and a pillar of the association. The Deacon 
was a man of war, and, like Paul, had often 
"fought with beasts at Ephesus. " The unsancti- 
fied, however, were apt to laugh at the Deacon's 
peculiar business methods, which someti.nes required 
a good tug at the mantle of charity to cover them. 
But Deacon Smythe's piety was of that sort that 
does not find shrewdness in business inconsistent 
with loudness in prayer. In short, the Deacon 
bargained like a sinner and prayed like a saint, 
keeping always a self- satisfactory debit and credit 
account with his conscience. 

But, unfortunately for the good brother, in the 
present instance he had a business enemy, who was 
somewhat inclined to foregather with the spirits. 
This was a wholesale grocer, familiarly known as 
Tom Pinckney — a goc»d deal of a wag, who for a 
long time had bad a ijrudge against the sharp and 



1 62 



Tales of a Garrison Town, 



sanctimonious Smythe, on account of a matter of 
some three thousand dollars, which amount he 
claimed the Deacon had swindled him out of in a 
certain business transaction. Pinckney got wind 
of the anticipated move of the Y. M. C. A. against 
the mediums, and hearing that the Deacon was at 
the head of it, quietly dropped round to the hotel 
and had a word with Suckling. The conversation 
was an interesting and important one, and bore fruit. 

On the night appointed for the investigation the 
house was unu'^'illy crowded, for an inkling of the 
Y. M. C. A. 's design had got abroad. Exactly at 
five minutes to eight o'clock, in walked the com- 
mittee to the body of the hall. They took their 
seats in the very front row, and the sdance began. 
The spirits, under Suckling's supervision, outdid 
themselves; but the Professor's sleepy eyes every 
now and then wandered to the front row, where sat 
the Deacon and his watchful friends. The " mani- 
festations" continued uninterruptedly till the time 
for " materializing" arrived. Then Suckling stopped 
proceedings for a minute or two and addressed the 
audience. 

" I understand through the spirits," ^^e said, "that 
there is in the house a committee from the Young 
Men's Christian Association who desire to investi- 
gate spiritualism. If this committee be present, 



;r of 

: he 
in a 

wind 

rainst 

/as at 
hotel 

sation 

i fruit. 

ion the 

of the 

ctly at 

le com- 

)k their 
began, 
outdid 
every 
here sat 
" mani- 
he time 
stopped 
ssed the 

^d, " that 
^e Young 
investi- 
present, 




** On the background of the stage, a single figure, dressed in an 
old-fashioned frock-coat, with high collar, and loosely- fitting trousers, 
loomed indistinctly out of the darkness." 



Too Truthful Spirits, 



165 



will its members please to come forward and take 
seats on the platform ?" and he looked directly at 
the Deacon and his supporters. 

This challenge could not well be refused, so the 
committee of seven rose and took their seats in a 
double row on one side of the stage. Then the 
lights were turned down. 

"Now, gentlemen," said Professor Suckling sol- 
emnly, "you will have an opportunity of testing for 
yourselves the reality and efificacy of spirit mani' 
festation. Please to keep perfectly quiet until I 
give the word to speak. The unseen powers are 
jealous of their prerogative and cannot abide dis- 
tracting noises," 

The medium now began to stride rapidly up and 
down the stage, gesticulating wildly, at the same 
time muttering some mysterious words. His face 
was turned toward the back of the stage, and he 
was gazing earnestly into the dark shadow. Sud- 
denly he threw up his arms and stood motionless, 
his form rigid save for the twitching of his long, 
bony fingers. On the background of the stage, 
opposite where the committee sat, a single figure, 
dressed in an old-fashioned frock-coat, with high 
collar and loosely-fitting trousers, loomed indis- 
tinctly out of the darkness. Around it was a wa- 
vering, bluish shade, which seemed as if it might be 



1 66 



Talcs of a Garrison Town. 






X. 

A 



the atmosphere of Tartarus, still clinging about the 
paroled spirit. A deep, breathless, expectant hush 
rested upon the spectators. The committee could 
almost hear the beating of each other's hearts as 
the spirit slowly moved toward them across the 
stage, the medium facing it and retreating step by 
step as it advanced. Suddenly the Professor raised 
his arm authoritatively, and the spirit halted. 

"Now, gentlemen," said the medium in a sepul- 
chral voice, as he stepped to one side, "the spirit 
is willing to answer any questions you may have to 
ask." 

The Deacon cleared his throat. "Well, who are 
yoiiV he said, throwing an incredulous tone into 
his words. 

The spirit answered in a slow, sepulchral voice, 
looking all the while fixedly at Smythe: 

"After all the years we spent together in the 
same office, Ebenezer, do you not know me?" 

"Not at all," replied the Deacon, with growing 
agitation; for he recognized the voice as that of 
James Broderick, his late partner. 

" Ebenezer," said the spirit, stretching out a long 
arm and pointing its finger at the Deacon, " I have 
come to warn you of the error of your ways. You 
are all too sharp a bargainer to make proper terms 
with heaven. How could you, Ebenezer, cheat 



Too Truthful Spirits. 



167 



that poor Annapolis farmer out of a good price for 

his apples? How could you open the barrels and 

put hand-picked fruit on top of windfalls, and sell 

them as number ones? How could you say to that 

man from King's County that his potatoes were 

frozen, when you knew they weren't, and then beat 

him down to half-price? How could you sell that 

carload of musty hay, which you got for a song, to 

your friend William Price for six times its value? 

Do you remember the Digby chickens and the 

Yarmouth bloaters which you shipped to Boston as 

fresh and good, when you knew they were as dry 

and hard as flint? How was it about that one 

thousand dozen of eggs you sent to New York ? 

They were stale, Ebenezer — very stale! They 

provoked more profanity than your prayers will ever 

atone for. Call to mind the Spring Hill coal you 

sold to Tom Pinckney and swore it was Old Mines 

Sydney, and the generously-sanded sugar you sold 

him afterward. Ebenezer — you, a vice-president 

of the Young Men's Christian Association; you, a 

deacon of the Hancock Street Presbyterian Church, 

guilty of such acts! When I was alive, Ebenezer, 

such things never happened. Deacon, I was a 

restraint upon you!" 

At these words of the ghost a very audible smile 

went over the audience; for James Broderick, though 
II 



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i68 



Tn/es of a Garrison Town. 



his spirit showed such a laudable moral sense, had 
been known in life to be quite as able to drive 
sharp bargains as his praying partner. 

Then the spirit slowly and solemnly receded into 
the darkness. The Deacon started to his feet with 
something suspiciously like an oath upon his lips 
and rushed at the apparition; but it faded suddenly 
from view, and he came slap against the back of 
the stage. The voice of the medium rang out 
through the darkness, sternly commanding him to be 
seated, and the Deacon returned to his chair, crest- 
fallen and bewildered. 

Scarcely had he taken his seat when a second 
spirit, that of a woman, rose into view on another 
part of the stage. It wore a loose wrapper, and its 
long black hair, which partly hid a ghastly white 
face, swept over its shoulders. The Deacon's eyes 
fairly started from their sockets with astonishment 
and fear, and he thrust back his chair and stared 
open-mouthed at the new vision. It was the very 
image of his late wife, Susannah! 

" Ebenezer," it said, in an abrupt, sharp tone (the 
spirit had even a shriller voice than that of the afore- 
time Mrs. Smythe), " I hope you will be happy with 
the new wife you mean to marry; but you must 
treat her better than you treated me. You were 
very stingy, Ebenezer, to your poor Susannah! I 









Too Truthful Spirits, 



i6o 



had hardly one new gown a year, and that was not 
enough. You never took me to a concert or circus. 
You could well have afforded to keep a carriage for 
me, but you didn't. I often got sour looks from 
you, and you sometimes said nasty things to me just 
after morning prayers. But the woman you are 
going to marry is taking you, Ebenezer, on account 
of your money; and she will not put up with your 
stingy ways. She is much too young for you, and 
she is going to lead you a pretty dance; and you 

well deserve " But the spirit did not finish the 

sentence. The Deacon had heard enough. The last 
two or three remarks had struck home. A look of 
mortification and dismay spread over his mottled 
face, and with trembling legs he rose from his seat. 
Extending his hands deprecatingly against the spirit, 
as if to shut out its words as well as its countenance, 
he made a sudden break for the entrance of the hall. 
He had got one-third of the way down the aisle, 
when the spirit disappeared and Suckling turned up 
the lights. Anthony fleeing from Actium, with the 
loss of a world behind him, showed no greater rout 
than did the Deacon, as he hastily beat his retreat 
with his six discomfited followers close at his heels. 
The delight of the audience knew no bounds, 
for the Deacon had few friends among them. They 
rose in their seats and derisively cheered him to 



, 



ijro 



Tales of a Garrison Town, 



the echo, and mocking congratulations were showered 
upon the committee as they scrambled for the door. 
Never was rout more complete; and amid all, 
Professor Suckling's long, dark face and sleepy 
eyes looked over the scene of confusion with won- 
dering simplicity. But in a far corner of the hall 
sat a man almost shrieking with laughter. 
It was Tom Pinckney, the Halifax grocer. 






THE CORPORAL'S TROUSERS. 



THE CORPORAL'S TROUSERS. 



" My loved, my long-lost trousers."— O. W. Holmes. 



Corporal McShane, of t!ie Surrey Fencibles, off 
duty till the afternoon parade, on a fine June morn- 
ing, strolled out toward the North-west Arm. The 
air was clear and bracing, and the corporal, besides, 
had his pipe and a good supply of tobacco to while 
away the time, and a huge sandwich in his pocket 
to stay the ravages of hunger. As he approached 
the head of the arm it struck him that a dip in the 
water would be an admirable thing. He walked 
on a little farther and looked round for a convenient 
spot to undress, and then, as he saw but one old 
shanty near, took off his clothes behind a rex k and 
plunged boldly in. McShane was a good swimmer, 
and the distance across tae arm at that point was not 
great, so he determined to swim to the opposite si. c;re 
and back before coming out. After a gall.mt strug- 
gle he accomplished the first half of his feat: then, 
resting a bit and sunning himself like a huge stork 
for some minutes on the shore, he started back, but 



I 



11 



H 



I 

i 

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i : 



174 



Tales of a Garrison Town. 



when he reached his destination one indispensable 
part of his wardrobe was missing. He looked round 
in alarmed perplexity. His regimental trousers, 
which had encased and decorated his legs so often 
on parade, were not to be found. Like the carry- 
ing away of Helen to Menelaus was the rape of his 
trousers to the gallant Corporal. He was not only 
in bitter grief over his loss, but in a sad quandary 
as to how he should get back to town ; and some 
solution of the problem was, in the nature of things, 
of pressing importance. 

The shanty mentioned above was occupied by an 
Irish woman, Mrs. Bridget McGinnis, who kept a 
large flock of barn-fowl for market. Among this 
feathered live-stock rambled at his own sweet will 
a goat. He was a brindled, shaggy-bearded, heavy- 
horned animal, known to the neighborhood as 
"Timothy," whom long immunity had made a dar- 
ing disrc'garder of the rights of others. His preda- 
tory instincts often led him beyond the pale of Mrs. 
Bridget's sway, and once he had been known to 
enter the kitchen of a neighbor half a mile away 
and stea'l a fig of tobacco which was lying on a 
bench. This he was later detected chewing in a 
most orthodox manner. The shore <>f the arm was 
a favfwite stamping-ground of his goatship. On 
the day lu question Timothy wandered as usual 



If! 



The CorporaV s Trousers. 



175 



among the rocks and over the sand, sniffing at 
everything "new and strange that had suffered a 
sea-change," when suddenly he came upon a heap 
of red clothes. They were like nothing which 
Timothy had ever before encountered, and he sur- 
veyed them awhile like a veritable Crusoe. The 
color was attractive, and he turned them over and 
over with his nose, sniffing at each garment in 
turn. The last object of examination was the 
trousers. To this bifurcated husk of humanity 
the goat's attention was attracted by a peculiar 
odor. In the rear pocket of the trousers reposed 
the fragrant t()i)acco-pouch of Corporal McShane. 

The smell of this was not unpleasing to Timothy, 
••kI he ended his investigations by picking up the 
garment and mar( hing off with it in triumph. No 
Roman with his trophy could have been prouder 
than Timothy as with the Corporal's trousers 
grasped firmly by the seat he marched slowly into 
the wid«)w McGinnis' barn-yard. At the sight of 
the red -striped garment Mrs. McGinnis' turkeys were 
filled with indignant fury, but Timothy had no such 
Mnreasoning prejudices. He deposited the trousers 
carefully in a corner and proceeded to make inves- 
tigations. He explored the garment carefully, but, 
i«5norant of the mysteries of its construction, could 
not find entrance to the delectable contents. De- 






176 



l^alcs of a Garrison Town. 




termination, however, was one of Timothy's chief 
characteristics, so with teeth and hoofs he made a 
violent onslaught on the rear. Her Majesty's cloth 
was tough, but Timothy's courage was undaunted, 
and by dint of pulling and stamping he man- 
aged to make a large, ragged hole in the broadest 
part of the indispensables. All this had consumed 
time, and meanwhile the Corporal, in full dress with 
the important exception of his trousers, was running 
up and down the shore in consternation. His ultra- 
Highland costume was to say the least inconvenient, 
for the air along shore was beginning to grow chill, 
and the wind fluttered the pennon of his shirt a little 
uncomfortably. McShane, a prey to every dismal 
foreboding, wandered up and down in ludicrous 
despair. At length, in his extremity, a thought 
struck him. He would go and ask Mrs. Bridget for 
the loan of a pair of the late lamented Mike's small- 
clothes. This was mortifying to his pride, but 
there was nothing else to do. For a corporal of 
one of Her Majesty's crack regiments the position 
was in truth appalling. Hov/ever, he started off 
valiantly for the shanty, but almost as much fear 
as came upon Godiva in her celebrated ride pos- 
sessed him as he fluttered into the barn-yard. Sud- 
denly he stopped spell-bound. There was Timothy 
with his nose in the corporal's tobacco-pouch search- 



The CorporaV s Trousers. 



177 



ing for a "chew!" And, horror of horrors! the 
Corporal was disgraced forever — his precious trousers 
had been treated as badly as was Lord Marmion at 
Flodden Field, for they had been dragged through 
mud and dust until their resplendent color was 
dimmed, while in their foundation-part a ghastly 
rent was visible. The Corporal gave a shout and 
rushed upon Timothy, which was the very thing he 
shouldn't have done, for Timothy caught up the 
trousers and ran with them round the corner of Mrs. 
Bridget's shanty. McShane gave chase, while the 
widow McGinnis and her three children stood in 
the doorway, with open-mouthed amusement, watch- 
ing. At length the Corporal cornered Timothy and 
wrested the coveted regimentals from his hold. 
Alas! how departed was their glory! McShaneheld 
them up for inspection, and mournfully shook his 
head. 

" A hole was in their amplest parts, 
As if an imp had v;orn them." 

Rut there was no time for sorrow. In half an hour 
the Corporal must be back for parade, and it woukl 
take him all that time to get to the citadel. He 
whipped on his trousers and started off as hard as he 
could go for quarters, the laughier of the McGinn ises 
following in his wake. He fondly hoped to be back 
in time to brush and tack together his unfortunate 



I 



i 



II 



178 



Tales of a Garrison Town. 



^l 



breeches before he should have to appear on drill. 
But jui>t as he panted up the hill he saw the soldiers 
turning out for parade. He must e'en go as he was 
and trust to luck. He hoped that he might not be 
noticed and so might avoid a severe wound to his 
reputation. He hurried through the gate and, 
quaking in every limb, took his position in the ranks, 
liut unfortunately his station at the end of the line 
made him a conspicuous object. As the line wheeled, 
poor McShane's back was turned directly toward 
the Colonel, whose quick eye took in at once the 
Corporal's demoralized condition. 

"Halt!" cried the Colonel sternly. "Corporal 
McShane will step out of the ranics! Come here, 
sir! What does this disgraceful exhibition mean?" 

"Oh, Colonel, yer honor!" replied the crestfallen 
McShane, touching his hat, while the knowledge 
that the whole regiment was secretly laughing at 
him confused h ,n 'almost beyond power of utterance, 
"sure'n it wa., all along o' that dirthy spalpeen av 
a goat!" 

"A goat, sir?" thundered the Colonel, knitting 
his brow and biting his lips to restrain an almost 
irresistible impulse to laugh. "What do you mean ? 
Have you been riding a gout?" 

"Glory be to the saints, no, sir! I wasbathin' in 
the Arm, yer honor, an' along come Bridget Mc- 






The CorporaV s Trousers. 



179 



Ginnis' goat — may the divil fly away wid him! — 
and stole me throusers whin me bark wuz turrned. 
Phat he wanted wid me britches I haven't no more 
idee than the snakes had why St. Patrick druv them 
out av Ireland, but whin I found him he wasa-eatin' 
the whole blessed seat out av im. An' me as niver 
dishgraced the sarvice yit, an' alius wore as purty 
a pair av pants as iver shook leg on parade!" 

The Corporal's honest eyes were filled with tears 
of mortified pride, and Colonel Preston's face re- 
laxed its stern look. A smile struggled to gain 
control of his rugged features, as he drew himself 
up and looked fixedly over the Corporal's head. He 
gave a slight cough, and then said, with a blending 
of military sternness and benignity, "Corporal Mc- 
Shane, go to your quarters and get repaired! Your 
previous good conduct will -excuse you this time, 
but if I hear any more goat-stories you will make 
your explanations inside the guard-room. 'Ten- 
tion, the regiment!" 

Poor McShane profusely bowed his thanks to the 
Colonel, glad to have got off so easily, and quickly 
retreated from the ground to accomplish the soldier- 
like duty of closing up the rear. 



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TOUCHED WITH THE TAR- 
BRUSH. 



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TOUCHED WITH THE TAR- 
BRUSH. 

"The incense vapor curled and swayed 
Hefure the mystic shrine ; 
Dark priests for direful vengeance prayed 
And poured out blood for wine." 

— Thk Ckimb of Sirdar Gah. 

Mysteries are scarce in Halifax, but the mystery 
of the O'Beimes was enough to keep tongues wag- 
ging for a generation. 

It is a long, queer story, and I could never quite 
get to the bottom of it. I give you the facts as 1 
know them, and you can draw your own conclusions. 
Perhaps some day I shall be able to tell you more 
about the matter. 

The O'Beirnes were two brothers, tall, swarthy, 

and fine-looking, sons, as it was reported, of Major 

O'Beirne, of one of Her Majesty's crack regiments, 

long stationed at Bombay. Why they had come to 

Halifax nobody knew; but in spite of some reserve 

at first on the part of the Halifax people, in a short 

time they grew so popular that hardly anybody 

thought of questioning their antecedents. 

Dick O'Beirne, the younger of the brothers, was 

183 




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Tales of a Garrison Toivn. 



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one of those fellows who win their way to every- 
body's heart. He was frank, off-hand, gallant with 
women, comradish with men, and fond of convivial- 
ity and sports. His brother, Charles, two years the 
elder, was wholly different. At most times he ap- 
peared as frank and engaging as Dick, but occasion- 
ally he showed a strange, sinister reserve, and then it 
did not need a very fertile imagination to fancy that 
a spirit of diabolical cruelty lay hidden in the depths 
of his coal-black eyes. Yet for all this he was a 
favorite. His was the stronger character, and the 
world likes people of strength. 

So these dark strangers stayed on apparently at 
their own sweet wills, hob-nobbing with club-men, 
messing with officers, and dancing graceful and not 
unacceptable attendance on pretty girls. It was 
well known that Colonel Preston, at least, who had 
been Major O'Beirne's bosom friend when both 
were captains, knew all about these popular young 
fellows; and since he had taken pains to be civil to 
them, and had more than once, indeed, shown marked 
interest in their affairs, the civilian families felt that 
it was not incumbent on them to inquire into 
their pedigree, especially as they showed themselves 
gentlemen and were supplied with that excellent 
patent of respectability, a bank account. 

Notwithstanding all this, some of the more curt- 



Touched with the Tar -Brush. 



185 






ous, who had marriageable daughters, attempted to 
sound Colonel Preston and other officers regarding 
the O'Beirnes. But it soon became evident that 
the history of the brothers was not generally known 
to the regiment, and that wise old fellow, the Colo- 
nel, persistently kept his mouth shut; so there the 
matter, ended. 

One of the most popular houses in town was the 
Honorable Leonard Lingate's. Mr. Lingate had 
formerly held one of the highest provincial offices, 
and was now a member of the Dominion Senate. 
Of the Lingate girls — and there were four of them 
— Grace was by common consent the most fascinat- 
ing. She was a tall, handsome blonde, with a fine 
form, a stately carriage, and a typical Irish beauty's 
neck. Her grandfather on her mother's side was 
an Irish gentleman, and Grace showed her origin, 
even having the least delicious touch of Irish 
brogue. She had sympathetic eyes, a delicate 
profile, and a smile that warmed one like a sun- 
beam. 

Before long the O'Beirnes were almost daily vis- 
itors at the Lingates*, and their admiration for Grace 
was apparent to every one. They dropped in to 
afternoon tea and had her always to themselves. 
They went to balls, and the name of one or the other 
was on her programme for almost every dance. 



i 



1 



i86 



Tales of a Garrison Town. 






U I 



"Blast those black fellows," said Lieutenant Hicks 
one night; "why didn't they stay in India, where 
they belong? No white man can get a sight of 
Grace Lingate when they are round; and they are 
always round!" And others of the young officers 
and civilians, too, in much more vigorous language 
frequently echoed the sentiment. That Grace Lin- 
gate liked the O'Beirnes was clear enough. If she 
had not liked them she would have sent them about 
their business, as she had sent many another fellow 
before them. But which of them she liked best no- 
body could for a long time tell. At last it was 
noticed that Charles seemed decidedly more in favor 
than Dick; and Dick, who was evidently no less in 
love than his brother, began to hold aloof, and 
apparently had made up his mind to resign the cov- 
eted prize. His disappointment told on the fellow, 
however; he lost his spirits; once in a while was 
found at the club drinking champagne alone — al- 
ways a bad sign ; and there were times when there 
was hardly a trace of his old frank, open smile to be 
seen, and when, instead of the affable and winning 
manner that had won for him so warm a place in the 
hearts of his acquaintances, there was a brusqueness 
about him that seemed, however, more the result of 
preoccupation than of ill-humor. 

One night Charles O'Beirne was sitting with 



Touched with the Tar-Brush. 



187 



Colonel Preston over a smoking glass of whiskey 
toddy in the little room the latter called his den in 
the house he had rented on South Park Street. The 
two men sipped their whiskey, long wreaths of 
smoke from their cigars winding upward, mean- 
while, until the air was thick with it. At first they 
chatted about indifferent things, but after a time 
the Colonel got astride his favorite topic, India. 
Three glasses of hot Scotch are apt to make the 
tongue move glibly, especially if the bottle has been 
freely tipped and the brand is good. 

"It is a rather queer thing to me, Charley," said 
the Colonel at length, looking a little searchingly at 
his companion, " why you wear that ring so conspic- 
uously. If you did so in India, it wouldn't be good 
for your health." 

"Why so?" asked Charles. 

"Well, I wouldn't like to stand an insurance risk 
on your life." 

"Why, what's the matter with the ring?" 

"Don't you know?" replied the Colonel, eying 
him sideways. 

"Not in the least." 

" Did your father never tell you ?" and the Colonel 

lowered his voice almost to a whisper. " Didn't he 

tell you that that ring was stolen out of a Buddhist 

temple at Buhrampoor ?'* 
12 



188 



Tales of a Garrison Town. 



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"You astonish me, Colonel; I hadn't the faintest 
idea of it! Aren't you joking?" 

"I am not. Never was more serious in my life. 
Take your ring off and let me look at it for a min- 
ute. I don't think I am mistaken." Charles drew ^ 
the ring from his finger and handed it to the Colo- 
nel. It was a large opal of a peculiar iridescent 
hue — a stone very highly prized in India. The 
Colonel turned the ring and examined the back of 
the stone where it showed through the gold. " I 
thought so," he said quietly. "Do you see that 
faint scratching on the back, almost covered by the 
setting? That is the mark of the sacred office of 
Buddha. That sign shows that the stone, like all 
the others marked in the same way, is the exclusive 
property of the god. Woe to the person, native or 
European, Afghan, Persian, or Malay, in whose pos- 
session one of these sacred stones is found ! Your 
father never wore this, I think ?" 

"Oh, yes, for some time before he died." 
"For how long?" -* 

" Nearly a year, I believe." 
" He died quite suddenly at last, did he not?" 
"Yes; his old enemy, the fever, took him off." 
"Charles, you had better sell that ring; or, if 
you don't want to do that, then put it carefully 
away. " 



Touched with the Tar- Brush. 



189 



"Oh, come now, Colonel; why all this msytery? 
What do you know about the ring ?" 

" Nothing in particular. Only I advise you not 
to wear it publicly, that is all." 

It was no use for Charles to question the Colonel 
further, so he gave the matter up and thought no 
more of it. 

About two weeks later Charles met, at the house 
of a friend, a gentleman who had just come from 
India. This Mr. Coleman had been an indefatiga- 
ble traveller, having been pretty much all over the 
world, and having lived among all sorts of people. 
On the evening in question Coleman was relating 
some stories he had gathered on his travels, and 
the conversation gradually shifted to India. This 
brought Charles and the new-comer into a close 
conversation, which they kept up for a while after 
the dinner was over, and again resumed as they set off 
to their respective quarters, which were near each 
other. It was still early in the evening, and Charles 
proposed to his new acquaintance their spending an 
hour at the Halifax Club, of which the O'Beirnes 
were members. Coleman agreed, and they sat 
down together in the empty smoking-room. 

" Do you know," said the traveller, as he knocked 
the ashes from his cigar, " queerer things happen in 
India than anywhere else. Our conversation recalls 



(I 



190 



Tales of a Garrison Town, 



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a story that I heard at Lucknow, a story which inter- 
ested me so greatly that I have still a vivid recollec- 
tion of all its particulars. An officer at an up-coun- 
try station — it is singular that I have forgotten the 
name of the place, but I think it ends with 'poor' 
— formed a connection with a Hindoo girl, the 
daughter of a Buddhist priest attached to a 
temple in that town. Now this in itself was a 
flagrant offence to such intensely religious people 
as the Hindoos, and their hatred against the woman 
was shown openly. All communication between her 
and her race was broken off, and she was thrown 
entirely on the protection of the officer, who, if I 
mistake not, was an Irishman of good family and 
very well able to take her part, which, to his credit 
be it said, he very faithfully and tenderly did. The 
woman, cast off by her people and depending alto- 
gether on the English, became a baptized Christian 
and returned the hatred of the priests with interest. 
Two children were born, and things for a while went 
on quietly. But — and here comes in the strange 
part of the story — a plot was discovered through the 
agency of a faithful native servant to steal the 
youngest child. In fact, the design was at first 
successful, and the child, when found after a long 
search, had been spirited off to a secret place remote 



i ! 



Touched with the Tar- Brush. 



191 



from the officers* quarters. On the nape of the 
boy's neck — he was about two years old — was dis- 
covered an inflamed spot, which when it healed 
showed a peculiar scar, which the native servant 
declared was a secret mark of the Buddhist priests. 
Nothing, however, could be proved against them; but 
the mother was highly incensed and vowed she 
would have revenge. The regiment had been or- 
dered to another place, and the very evening before 
it left a large and fine opal, one of the eyes of the 
statue of the god, had been pried from its setting 
and stolen. A tremendous sensation was raised 
over the business. The English, and especially the 
Christianized Hindoo woman, were accused of 
the sacrilege, and excitement ran so high for a time 
that a European's life was not safe in the town. 
The thing seemed to blow over after a while, but 
it was suspected that the Buddhist priests had spies 
out in search of the lost jewel. So far as I have 
heard, it was never found ; but some three months 
after the removal of the regiment, the officer I have 
spoken of coming home one day to his private city 
quarters, found his wife — for he had married her since 
she had become a Christian — dying in agony. The 
symptoms were unmistakably those of poison, but 
how and by whom it had been administered always 



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192 



Talcs of a Garrison Town, 



remaineJ a mystery. The implacable resentment 
of the priests was the only way of accounting for 
the tragedy." 

"You said this happened in Buhrampoor?" asked 
Charles slowly, shading his face with his hand as if 
to keep the light of the gas from his eyes. 

" Buh — Buhrampoor ! I bel ieve that was the name 
of the place. How did you come to hit on it?" 

" I made a random guess. It is a rather strange 
story." 

"It has been vouched for as true. My Hindoo 
servant comes from somewhere near the place, and 
if 1 had not discharged the black rascal this very 
day he might perhaps have been induced to give 
us further particulars. But what is the matter? 
You look as white as a ghost!" 

"That cigar has turned me half-sick — tobacco 
sometimes affects me that way," and Charles laid 
down the half-smoked weed with trembling fingers. 
"It will pass off soon. You said you brought a 
Hindoo servant with you. How do you know he 
comes from that locality?" 

" By observation. He has a trick of the tongue 
of that part of India; and once, when I questioned 
him about this same story, he was reticent as an 
oyster. Now, had he not already known the facts 
of the case, he would have asked me about them. I 



Touched with the Tar-Brush. 



193 



never knew what to make of him. Sometimes I've 
fancied he was a man of higher caste than he seemed. 
He did not act as if he had been brought up a ser- 
vant, but to the time of landing here I could not 
have had a more faithful and devoted attendant. 
When we arrived here he suddenly became saucy 
and insubordinate. I was, however, inclined to 
overlook several peccadilloes on account of his pre- 
vious good behavior, but at last I missed a valuable 
silver-hilted dagger from my trunk, the existence of 
which was known only to him. It was a beautiful 
weapon with a slender, engraved blade waved like 
a Malay crease. I have heard that it is a favorite 
weapon with the assassins of India, and as I had 
never seen one before I prized it highly. I am 
convinced that Jerry has it." 

"Jerry — that is not a Hindoo name." 
"Oh, he calls himself Bahlundar Singh. I have 
nicknamed him Jerry. The fellow is now on the 
streets the whole time. I have met him poking 
about the barracks or lounging around public-houses 
as if he was possessed of an uneasy demon. The 
fellow, like all his race, is a coward, and I think 
perfectly inoffensive, or I would suspect him of 
some knavery. This cold climate plays the deuce 
with Hindoos. I suppose it will end in my taking 
pity on the fellow and shipping him back to his 



ri 






194 



Talcs of a Garrison Town* 



own country. I picked him up in Bombay, and as 
he had no objection, but rather a desire, to come to 
America, 1 brought him along. He is an unusually 
acute fellow, even for a Hindoo. He says he was 
educated for the priesthood, though how he got over 
the bar of caste I can't imagine; for of course, as 
you are aware all Hindoo servants are of a much 
lower caste than the priests. Probably, like all the 
rest of his race, the fellow lies." 

After Coleman took his leave, Charles remained 
sitting for a long time by the club-room fire — for in 
Halifax the evenings even in early June are often 
chilly — sunk in deep thought. From words which 
his father had let fall at different times he had be- 
fore suspected that there was a mystery connected 
with his own and his brother's birth. Could it be 
that this gossip of Coleman's was the solution of it? 
The story, as told, fitted exactly with the facts of 
which he was cognizant. Arriving home he went 
straight to a large desk which had been his father's, 
opened it, and took from it a marriage certificate, 
which he unfolded and carefully perused. It stated 
that Timothy O'Beirne, Major in Her Majesty's 
Eighteenth Regiment of Infantry, had been married 
on the 1 2th day of August, 1854, to Maria Eva 
Brooks, at the cantonment chapel of Lootofah, while 
at the bottom, as witness, was the name of George 



Touched with the Tar-Brush, 



195 



Preston, captain in the same regiment. Then he 
turned to an old note-book, and found that his 
father had been stationed at Buhrampoor just 
previous to the regiment's moving to Lootofah. 
He knew that there was a Buddhist temple at Buhr- 
ampoor, but none at Lootofah. He sat a long time 
in deep thought. A hard look passed into his face 
and the natural swarthiness of his complexion dark- 
ened as he slowly arose, and, taking the lamp in his 
hand, walked to a mirror at the farther end of the 
room. He stared long and earnestly at the glass, 
the flush on his cheek growing deeper and deeper 
under the tawny skin as his counterfeit self con- 
fronted him, as it seemed, with a look of silent 
mockery. Suddenly a burst of pent-up passion 
overmastered him; with a convulsed face and with 
a monstrous oath he dashed his doubled fist into the 
reflecting surface and shattered it to fragments. 
"Touched with the tar-brush! Touched with the 

tar-brush! Of all the damnable " The words 

came from his lips like the hiss of a snake. 

He turned abruptly away and paced hurriedly up 
and down the room for some minutes, the fierce, wild 
look of a hunted beast of prey in his eyes. Sud- 
denly he felt something trickling down his fingers, 
and lifting his hand saw that he had cut it against 
the edges of the broken glass. "I am a fool!" he 



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196 



Ta/es of* a Garrison Town. 



muttered, and hastily wrapped his handkerchief 
around the bleeding hand. Then suddenly stopping 
in his walk, he sat down before the desk and again 
began carefully to examine and compare the papers 
it contained. He had not finished his task when he 
heard his brother's step ascending the stairs. 

"You are out late, Dick," said Charles as he 
turned the key in the desk, glancing at the same 
time at the clock upon the mantel. 

"Why, yes, Charley, I was out with the boys on 
a bit of a time, and we wound up with a supper 
at Rigg's saloon;" and the handsome young fellow 
flung himself down on a chair near by. His flushed 
face showed that he had been drinking pretty heav- 
ily. " Hang it, what have you been doing to the 
looking-glass?" he said, glancing up. 

" I accidentally struck it with my hand. You 
have been drinking again, I see," said Charles with 
a slight tone of contempt, casting a side glance at 
his brother. 

" Have I ? I suppose I have. But what is a fel- 
low to do with himself? It was all your work, our 
coming out to this infernal hole, where the grass 
grows in the public streets, begad!" 

"You were well enough contented a month ago." 

"Well, I've changed my mind; I'm tired of the 
place." 



N 



Touched zvith the Tar- Brush, 



197 



" You forget that it was you who first proposed 
our coming here. You know the Colonel is our god- 
father, and has each of us down for a few thousands. 
He has done well by us otherwise, too." 

*' Hy you, you mean," sneered Dick. 

" What do you mean by that ?" 

"Oh, you know well enough," and Dick stretched 
himself and yavned. " Don't try to play the inno- 
cent with me, Charley; it won't wash." 

"Oh, you mean the Lingates! And am I to be 
blamed for being preferred there to you? I am not 
in the habit of fuddling my brains over a bar. 
What do you expect ?" 

"Never mind; hang it, let the subject rest! I'm 
tired and sleepy;" and Dick rose, and, slowly un- 
dressing, tumbled into bed and was soon in a pro- 
found sleep. Charles looked at the sleeper and 
smiled. His expression was bitter and scornful and 
his face grew set. " I must get her before the thing 
comes out," he thought; "they can then say what 
they will. With Grace and the Lingate money, I 
can snap my fingers at the whole pack of s«andal- 
mongers. I must have another talk with the Colo- 
nel, for, after all, the thing is, so far, little more 
than conjecture. I must have direct proof." He 
looked contemptuously down at Dick, " This fool 
of a brother of mine sleeps like a log. Gad! I wish 



!! 



',' ) 



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t 


h' 


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198 



Ta/es of a Garrison Town. 



. 



I could. My head's too full of all this stuff." Sud- 
denly a thought flashed across his mind. He bent 
over the sleeper and softly removed the covering 
from the back of his neck. There was a little scar 
just above the nape, which bore a resemblance to a 
small cross or dagger. Charles looked at it ear- 
nestly and then drew the cover up again. There 
was a hard smile on his face.. "It must be 
true, or the devil's in it," he said slowly, staring 
blankly at the window. "Shall I tell him? No; 
the young fool would blurt it out the first time he 
got drunk. But I must make sure — I must see the 
Colonel." 

The discovery that Charles had made weighed so 
much on his mind that next morning he started for 
a long walk through the park to think the matter 
over. He was strolling along abstractedly, when a 
light touch was laid upon his arm. He turned, 
somewhat startled, and looked into the dark face of 
a Hindoo. The man's features were sharply chis- 
elled and betokened keen intelligence, and he was 
dressed like an Englishman, except that he wore 
the white turban of his race. 

"Sahib live in Hindostan?" said the dark- 
skinned man in a soft, insinuating tone. 

"Yes, I h^ve lived there," answered Charles, 
frowning, 



Touched with the Tar-Brush, 



199 



"Sahib will take me for servant? I serve sahib 
well." 

"What is your name?" asked O'Beirne. 

"Bahlundar Singh, sahib." 

Charles paused. The fellow was perhaps able to 
give him some information on the one subject of 
his thought, but it was clear that to do this he must 
take him into his service. " Well, Bahlundar 
Singh," he said, " I will take you on one condition. 
It is that you prove faithful and obedient and keep 
your tongue still about me and my affairs. I exact 
no other conditions, as I understand you are ac- 
quainted with the duties of a gentleman's servant. 
You will put in an appearance at my lodging this 
evening at supper-time," Charles turned on his 
heel and resumed his walk, while the Hindoo 
slipped noiselessly out of sight. It occurred after- 
ward to him that he had not given the man his 
address; but this was evidently not necessary, for 
the Indian turned up at his lodging at the proper 
hour. 

Bahlundar Singh proved a jewel. His deft fin- 
gers were soon putting the disorderly bachelor apart- 
ment to rights. O'Beirne had removed the opal 
ring from his finger, and it lay on the desk at the 
farther side of the room. As he stood washing his 
hands he secretly observed the Hindoo noiselessly 



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200 



Talcs of a Garrison Town. 



i 



f. 



gliding about. With a side glance he saw the ser- 
vant give a quick look and an involuntary spring 
toward the jewel, then check himself and busily re- 
sume his work. After a minute Charles slipped the 
ring again on his finger, and when the Hindoo's 
back was turned he opened the desk and quietly 
put the ring into the corner of a little drawer that 
fastened with a spring. " You can go, Bahlundar 
Singh," he said, " I shall not want you any more to- 
night. I will leave some errands for you in the 
morning, so come early." The black bowed silently 
and withdrew. Charles went out, carefully locked 
the door after him, and strolled in the direction of 
Colonel Preston's headquarters.. He was soon in 
the den of the old soldier, and, armed with his new 
knowledge, gained without much difficulty a confir- 
mation of his suspicions. " I didn't want, to tell you, 
Charley, just how the thing was. It is a confounded- 
ly disagreeable matter and had better be kept quiet, 
and of course you are only too anxious that it should 
be. Does Dick know of it?" 

"No, nor shall he! One is enough. Why should 
I dim the fellow's happiness? As for me, it don't 
much matter; I shall soon leave town." 

"Don't take it to heart," answered the kind old 
Colonel. " It isn't your fault, Charley, nor is it 
^ /'s. There is no need of your ever telling it to 



Touched with the Tar- Brush. 



20I 



any one" (with a stress on the " ever" and " any one," 
for the Colonel had Charles' prospective marriage in 
his eye, and imagined the young man might be 
quixotic enough to tell his betrothed) ; "as for me, 
my mouth is sealed. Go home and take a good 
night's sleep, my boy — you look as if you needed it." 

Charles walked back to his lodgings, deep in 
thought. Suddenly his brow cleared, and he en- 
tered his lodgings with a firm, quick step. Dick, 
too, had also just come in and was in high spirits. 
To Charles' surprise he leaped off his chair and 
seized his brother by the shoulders in joyous excite- 
ment. "It's all right, Charley!" he cried. "It was 
all a mi»-''\ke. It was me she loved all along. I 
hope • are not cut up about it," he added with a 
sudden misgiving. " You couldn't have loved her 
as I did, Charley; she acted offish to me, and I 
didn't take the hint — couldn't catch on. Oh, she's 
just the dearest little girl alive! And I told her, 
Charley, I wouldn't drink any more, and I won't. 
Hang it, old man, don't look so glum! I was ready 
to give in to you when I thought you had the inside 
track; but we can't both have her, you know, and 
she's loved me and I've loved her for ever so long. 
Come, now, you're not angry with me, are you?" 

During part of this speech a wild-beast impulse 
seized so strongly upon Charles to take his brother 



I 



202 



Tales of a Garrison Town. 



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I 1 



by t!ie throat and strangle the life out of him 
that he dug his finger-nails deeply into the palms of 
his hands in his efforts to appear calm. The dis- 
appointment was a bitter one. That this fool of a 
younger brother, whose ability to thwart his love he 
had derided, should now step in between him and 
his most cherished desire, filled his heart with 
hatred. But he restrained himself and said quietly: 
"What makes you think I was your rival, Dick? 
It was all your own foolish fancy. I admired the 
girl, of course, as I do a dozen others. I congratu- 
late you on your success," and he held out his hand 
with assumed warmth. 

All that night Charles lay awake, thinking, and 
round his dark vigil hovered the furies of jealousy 
and revenge. For the next few days he did not go 
near the Lingates* house, and, contrary to his usual 
custom, drank heavily, and carried in his manner a 
fitful, reckless gayness. He had not seen Dick for 
two days, when the latter suddenly came rushing into 
the room in a state of great excitement. "Look 
here, Charley, did you ever see anything more infa- 
mous?" he shouted. 

"Hush!" said Charles; "don't let the whole town 
hear you. What is it?" 

"Read that!" cried Dick, thrusting a crumpled 
note into Charles' hand. "I've just got it from 



Touched with the Tar -Brush. 



203 



Grace. Her father suspects me — would you believe 
it ? — suspects me of I don't know what! Who could 
have concocted such a lie — such an infernal lie? 
Grace never doubted me, but her father did — act- 
ually, almost turned me out of the house! It'll be 
all up between us if you don't go and tell them it's 
a lie! Do go, that's a dear fellow, or my heart'll 
break;" and Dick threw himself down in a chair 
and burst into a passion of tears. Charles took the 
letter and read aloud these lines: 



To Leonard Lingate, Esq. — 

Dear Sir: For entirely honorable reasons I must 
not divulge my name, but I write to warn you 
against two young men, Charles and Richard 
O'Beirne, who are frequent guests at your house. 
There is a rumor — I do not know how true it is — 
that the younger Mr. O'Beirne is plighted to one of 
your daughters. If so, I beg to inform you that 
these young men are the illegitimate sons of a Hin- 
doo woman who was cast off by her own people. 
Have you never suspected that they were " touched 
with the tar-brush," as they say in India? If con- 
fronted with the fact they will probably deny it; 
but it is well known to Colonel Preston, who served 
in the same regiment with Major O'Beirne when his 

sons were born. The mother of these O'Beirnes, 
13 



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7a/i's of a Garrison Town. 



besides being disreputable morally, was a criminal, 
amenable to law. She stole a valuable jewel from 
the eye of the god in a Buddhist temple of her native 
town — the worst offence known to Hindoos, and one 
which is punishable with death. It is said she was 
poisoned by their emissaries. Major O'Beirne, partly 
on account of the mother's death and partly to con- 
ceal the irregularity of his sons* births, sent them 
at an early age to the south of France to be educated. 
They have lately been in India, however, and have 
been made cognizant of their odious family secret. 
Finding that their story was too well known in Eng- 
lish circles, they have come to America to escape 
the reproach of their debased Hindoo blood. 
I have the honor to be, sir. 

Respectfully yours, J. B. 



t« W!\ 



What do you think of that? Could anything be 
more infamous?" cried Dick, when his brother had 
finished reading the letter. 

"I am sorry to say," replied Charles gravely, 
"that every word of this is true." 

"True!" Dick opened his mouth in horrified as- 
tonishment. " True ! Why, Charley, you have gone 
mad! Do you know what you are saying?" 

"Perfectly well. I repeat my words — it is 
true." 



Touched with the Tar-Brush. 



205 



"God in heaven! it can't be possible!" Dick 
stared at him with an ashen face. 

Charles rose and walked up and down the room. 

" I wanted to spare you this, Dick, but I have 
known it for some time. It seems that we have 
friends who have interested themselves in our affairs 
to some purpose. Of course, now you know the 
truth, you will inform Grace that you were mis- 
taken." 

"How can I, Charley? How the deuce can I? 
I'll be cast off like a mangy cur. I can't do it!" 

"You're a fool!" said Charles, turning and facing 
his brother. "If you don't, I will. You couldn't 
conceal it now if you would. They'll make inves- 
tigations and the whole matter will come out. As 
for me, I quit Halifax. You can stay and fight it 
out with old Lingate and Grace if you care to, but 
I warn you it won't be of any use. The old cock is 
proud as Lucifer, and Grace will be the obedient 
daughter. I will transfer that Hindoo to you. His 
wages are paid for a month and you can dismiss him 
then if you wish. I leave day after to-morrow 
morning for New York. Bi 



pshi 



T 



ter go to bed and forget about it. What is a girl, 
anyway? There are thousands as charming as your 
fair one who will not be so particular. Disappoint- 
ments are the rule in life, and why should you be 



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7)r/cs of a Garrison Town. 



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exempt? I'm going out for a walk Ijcfore turning 
in, and when you go to bed I wish } ou would leave 
the door ajar. " 

Charles stayed out till he finished a eigar and 
then returned to the house. All was (juiet, for the 
hour was late, and he noiselessly elor.ed the front 
door and stepped along the earpeted hall to his 
room. The door of the bedroom was ajar and he 
was about to enter, when he noticed the reflection 
of a human figure silhouetted against the wall of the 
room. The gas was turned low, but Charles de- 
tected through the dim light the tall figure of Bah- 
lundar Singh bending over the large desk and try- 
in-g to open it with some instrument which the 
watcher supposed was a skeleton key. While the 
Indian was at work, the sleeping form of Dick 
stirred and startled the Hindoo, who whipped with 
a lightning-like motion a silver-hilted dagger or 
Malay crease from beneath his coat, and cowered 
into the shadow. In a few moments Charles saw 
the long, gaunt form of the Asiatic again reflected 
on the wall, stooping above the desk. This time 
the Hindoo was successful ; for the desk opened, and 
the fingers of the thief darted to the little drawer 
in which Charles, the evening before, had placed 
the ring. Evidently Bahlundar Singh had seen him 
put the ring there, but had not seen him take it out 



Touched with the Tar- Brush. 



207 



ajjain. Charles still watched the fellow with inter- 
est. If the man was a common thief he would take 
the money and other valuables lying in the desk; if 
not, he must have some special design upon the 
ring. 

liut the Hindoo, whatever may have been the ob- 
ject of his search, carefully shut the desk again 
without disturbing anything, and withdrew softly 
toward the door. Charles, shrinking back into the 
darkness, felt his blood curdle as the stealthy, 
panther- like steps passed him in the hallway and 
ascended the stairs. Entering the room noiselessly, 
he locked the door and opened the desk. I'lvery- 
thing was there as usual. What could be the nieaji- 
ing of the Hindoo's action? O'Beirne sat down to 
think. He put together the stealing of the dagger, 
the man's desire to be employed by him, his sus- 
picious movements on the previous evening, and 
now this new pantomime. Then he looked at the 
ring upon his finger. Whatever were his thoughts, 
before he went to bed he carefully examined the 
fastenings of the windows and placed a revolver 
under his pillow. 

It was toward the evening of the next day, and 
Charles had been making his preparations to leave 
Halifax. Suddenly Dick entered the room. "Thank 
God, Charley!" he exclaimed, "I took your advice 



2o8 



Talcs of a Garrison Town. 



hi' 









Jli 



I';*'-- 



and owned ii|) to all the disgraceful truth. 1 saw 
(irace alone. I5y good luck her father was out, and 
I had a chance to talk to her right from the heart. 
1 told her she was at liberty to cut me if she wished. 
She threw her head up (you know her proud 
way, ('harley) and said, '1*11 never give you up, 
come what may.' I couldn't do anything but just 
kiss her. In truth, I never doubted her, and I don't 
care a penny what the old man says. I'll have her 
in spite of all. A girl who'll stand to a fellow like 
that is worth waiting for, and I may have to wait 
until the old man dies, for (Irace says she will not 
marry without his consent. There the matter rests 
unless I can win her father over, of which I have 
hopes, for he doesn't dislike me personally." 

Charles walked up and down the room with his 
head bent. Then he faced his brother with a pallid 
smile. "Well, Dick, since you have been so suc- 
cessful," he said, " 1 have nothing to do but tender 
my congratulations. Bahlundar Singh!" he called 
out to the Indian, who was in the hallway packing 
a trunk, and who now entered, "you will from this 
time forth serve Mr. Richard in place of me, as I 
shall not return to Halifax very soon. He will be 
responsible for your wages. And, Dick, I will leave 
with you this as a marriage-token." As he spoke he 
drew from his finger the opal ring and handed it to 



Touched with the Tar- Brush, 



209 



his brother. Dick took it with surprise. " Father's 
ring, Charley — why, wliat the deuce — didn't lie give 
it to you as a keepsake ?" 

"Yes, and I give it to you as a keepsake. It will 
be in the family still." Charles' swarthy face had 
grown still paler, though he kept a slight smile. 

"Oh, come now, Charley!" cried Dick, throwing 
his arms about his brother's neck, "don't look so 
confoundedly like a ghost. You'll come back to 
the wedding, won't you — that is, if you can man- 
age it ?" 

Charles' face hardened. "I can't say," he an- 
swered, turning away. " Hahlundar Singh, what are 
you standing there for? The trunk is not half 
packed." 

The next morning Charles took his departure for 
New York. Dick went to the station to see him off, 
but his brother bid him a constrained adieu. "I 
see you are wearing the ring," said Charles; " I ad- 
vise you to lock it up; opals are called unlucky." 

" Not I," answered Dick. " What do I care for old 
wives' superstitions? I will wear it till the day of 
my death." 

Charles gave an involuntary start, glanced uneasily 
around, and then turned quickly away. "Good-by," 
he called back hoarsely without looking at Dick. 
Then he stepped in haste to the platform of the 



2IO 



Tales of a Garrison Town, 



H 



',:«.•; 

;>-* 



car. Dick looked after him a moment in sur- 
prise. 

" He's not himself ; but, begad! how could he be?" 
he muttered. ** Indeed, I don't blame him. I'd 
be cut up myself under such circumstances." 

Less than a week after Charles left Halifax, Dick 
and his servant were seen on the train on their way 
to Bedford, where the O'Beirnes kept a small sail- 
yacht. 

The two must have got off at that station, for the 
yacht was afterward found drifting loose against 
the opposite shore. There was no trace, however, 
of the two men. Inquiries were made about them, 
but nothing could be discovered. Conjecture, of 
course, was rife, and the blow fell heavily on Grace 
Lingate, for she had loved Dick devotedly. Sud- 
denly, after six weeks of waiting, confirmation of 
people's worst fears was realized. Some boatmen 
in the basin came across the floating body of a man 
in the water. The face was much disfigured, but 
the clothes were recognized as those of Dick 

• 

O'Beirne. When the body was lifted into the boat 
the silver handle of a small Eastern dagger pro- 
truded from the nape of the neck. It had been 
driven in to the hilt and the blade had severed the 
spinal cord. Death must have been instantaneous. 
There was money still in the pockets of the clothes, 



Touched with the Tar -Brush. 



211 



but an opal ring which Dick had been observed to 
wear the morning he disappeared was gone. Search 
was made for the Hindoo servant, but in vain. It 
was supposed he had escaped somehow back to 
India. Nobody knew where Charles was, and Colo- 
nel Preston, after making many inquiries, let the 
matter drop. Suddenly, about a year after the 
tragedy, Charles O'Beirne arrived in Halifax. He 
explained his long absence and silence on the ground 
that he had been to South America, and but a week 
before had heard of his brother's death. He visited 
Dick's grave, had a costly monument placed over it, 
and carried the silver-handled dagger home to his 
lodgings, where, however, it was never afterward 
seen. He now began to pay renewed attention to 
Grace Lingate; but she, faithful to the memory of 
Dick, at first refused his advances. Charles' per- 
sistency, however, conquered, and the marriage was 
at last arranged. O'Beirne, who, since his return 
to Halifax, had shown little of his old light-heart- 
edness, at times, in the sunshine of his expected 
happiness, grew almost gay, and on the day previ- 
ous to his wedding was in unusually high spirits. 
He came home to his lodgings late in the evening 
and went to his room. Suddenly, in the middle of 
the night, the other inmates of the house were awak- 
ened by the fall of a heavy body on the floor an^ 



■m 



212 



Tales of a Garrison Town. 



the sound of groans issuing from O'Beirne's room. 
IJurstingopen the locked door they entered. Charles 
lay stretched upon the floor, the fatal dagger in his 
heart. The window of the room was open, and 
whether he had done the deed himself or had fallen 
by the hand of another no one could tell. 

The mystery of the O'Beirnes was never cleared 
up. 



1. 

is 
id 
:n 



:d 



WHIGS AND TORIES. 






WHIGS AND TORIES. 



"Ignoble parvenus with wealth content, 
What know ye of the claims of long descent ? " 

— Annals ok an Old Family. 



Miss Margaret and Miss Priscilla Bingay kept 
a fashionable boarding-house on Victoria Street. 
They were relics of the very oldest aristocracy of 
Halifax. Part of their ancestors had come from 
England with Lord Cornwall is in 1749, part from 
Boston with General Howe, at that memorable time 
when the British troops found it convenient to evac- 
uate the contumacious Puritan capital of Massachu- 
setts Bay. They did not regard it as at all necessary 
to trace their pedigree any farther. If any of us 
should take the trouble to go back a few genera- 
tions, we should very likely find among our ances- 
tors some people whom we should not care to invite 
to dinner. But that is neither here nor there. 

The father of the Miss Bingays had held some 
provincial office or other — Crown Lands, or Fisher- 
ies, or Mines; their grandfather had had a musty 
shipping and commission business down on Water 

Street — no matter about that, either! The family, 

215 



if: 



2l6 



Talcs of a Garrison Town, 



m 



m 



% 



ill 



si^ 



Sj'' >■! 'I 



for two or three generations, had been intimate at 
Government House, and their own house had been 
one of those that the military most frequented — 
which facts, you will agree with me, ought to have 
been quite sufficient to establish their position. The 
comparative poverty into which the Bingay family 
had gradually sunk did not, in the eyes of Miss 
Margaret or Miss Priscilla, at all detract from its 
present importance, while it did serve greatly to 
enhance its former splendor. That they themselves 
were compelled to keep a boarding-house they prop- 
erly enough regarded as no disgrace. Money, with 
them, weighed not a feather's weight in the scale 
with family. They were entirely unable to compre- 
hend how the possession or the non-possession of 
money could be regarded as in any way affecting 
an old family's standing. So long as people had 
ancestors to point to, they might safely do what 
they liked for the vulgar necessities of life, pro- 
vided, of course, they always remembered who 
and what they were and kept a proper sense of dig- 
nity on that account. 

Miss Margaret, the elder of the Bingay sisters, 
was short, stubby-featured, and stout; Miss Pris- 
cilla was tall, keen-eyed, long-nosed, and slim. 
Miss Margaret's hair was brown and straight, with 
only here and there a streak of silver; Miss Pris- 



Whigs and Tories. 



217 



'ris- 
llim. 



Iwi 



th 



TIS- 



cilla's was a fine iron-gray, and was always dressed 
in huge cannon curls. Miss Margaret was too 
short to be stately, but Miss Priscilla always moved 
as if remembering, as she always did remember, 
that she was the inheritor of the blood and the 
pride of generations of aristocratic liingays. In 
only one thing had they departed from the tradi- 
tion of their house: they had, in their latter days, 
become High Church women, and had left old Low 
Church St. Jude's, where their fathers had wor- 
shipped since 1749, for St. Albans, where there were 
more of the accessories of ritualism. But to the 
Halifax churches you have been partly introdtced in 
my story about Mrs. Arabella Tremlow and the good 
young Grosvenor. 

Every summer Halifax gets a great many " Ameri- 
can" visitors, as tourists from the United States are 
called. Some years, indeed, during July and Au- 
gust, the hotels are full of them, and very cool and 
agreeable do these visitors find the Nova Scotian cli- 
mate after the great heat of New York, or Boston, 
Washington, Baltimore, or New Orleans. Occasion- 
ally an American wants to spend some months there, 
and so prefers to find a private boarding-house, in 
which case he probably settles at the Bingays' or 
the Dales* — both houses where people regardful of 
their surroundings may safely take board. 









I.'!"); 



'ii 



Ml' 
W !1 



i h 



III 



2i8 



Ta/cs of a Garrison Town. 



One summer a well-dressed woman, whose card 
was inscribed "Mrs. Ring," appeared at the Bin- 
gays' house and inquired for board. She was 
dressed in a rich silk, had on a showy bonnet, and 
wore large diamonds. Her accent was decidedly 
that of a New England woman, of the peculiar and 
not wholly unpleasing type that one finds in the 
country towns of Maine or Massachusetts. It was 
not an uncultivated cPccent, but it was unmistakably 
nasal, and with one unacquainted with New Eng- 
land would very likely have passed for the accent 
of the best-bred Bostonians. The Miss Bingays 
were naturally not familiar with localities in the 
United States, and, truth to tell, while they ad- 
mitted that they had known some very good people 
from the States, they had none too high an opinion 
of Americans generally. Mrs. Ring, likewise, rep- 
resented herself as the wife of Judge Ring, of a well- 
known town near Boston, so after a hurried con- 
sultation Miss Margaret and Miss Priscilla decided 
that she was probably as bearable as most Americans, 
and agreed to take her. It must be confessed, how- 
ever, that they did it with a good deal of reluctance, 
for they much preferred to know fully the ante- 
cedents of the people who came to their house, and 
in this case strict inquiries were hardly possible. 

At dinner the first evening Mrs. Ring appeared in 



]Vhigs and Tories. 



219 



a gorgeous flowered brocade, with far larger dia- 
monds in her ears than those she had worn in the 
streets, and with her hands covered with costly 
rings. The boarders at the Miss Bingays' were 
generally quiet people, families that had broken up 
housekeeping, elderly young men who had appar- 
ently given up the idea of marrying, and three or 
four spinsters as proud and withered as their hosts. 
It was not quite the place for so much display, and 
it was soon evident that the other boarders so re- 
garded it. When Mrs. Ring appeared there were 
many significant looks about the table, many 
shrugs on the part of the elderly young men and sniffs 
on the part of the spinsters. The lady, however, 
was wholly at her ease; she chatted familiarly with 
the people next her, made inquiries regarding the 
best drives and the best chances for sailing in the 
harbor, asked the name of the present governor, and 
finally introduced the topic of the American Revo- 
lution. At this the whole table looked up, for if 
there was a point on which they had pronounced 
opinions, it was the event which had forced their 
ancestors to give up their homes and occupations 
and emigrate to a strange country to begin life 



anew 



in 



Are there many people still in Halifax," she 

asked, "whose ancestors came here at that time?" 
14 



220 



Tales of a Garrison Town. 



1 1^.1 ' 



pi ii 

m 



m ■ 



! 



"Many!" said a young man near, while frigid 
silence fell on the whole table; "most of the fam- 
ilies who are at all known in Halifax trace to that 
event." 

"Does yours?" she said significantly. 

"Yes, madam," he answered with asperity, "I am 
proud to say it does." 

"Proud of it, are you?" said Mrs. Ring. "Why, 
I can hardly understand that. I had always thought 
of the people who came here at the time of the Rev- 
olution as cowards, who would fight neither for 
king nor country, and so ran away." 

If a bomb had suddenly exploded there could not 
have been more consternation than this speech 
raised. The Miss Bingays, one at the head, the 
other at the foot of their table, simultaneously 
dropped their knives and forks and looked almost 
with terror at their guests. On the faces of the lat- 
ter it. was hard to see whether anger or disgust 
held chief sway. But Mrs. Ring continued, appar- 
ently not seeing the effect of her words, her dia- 
monds glittering, and the wine she had brought to 
the table rapidly disappearing: "I have always felt 
so sorry for the Tories of the Revolution, they were 
such stupid, unprogressive people. Now, indeed, I 
understand what makes Halifax such a very dull 
and dingy place." 



I*.- 



]V/tigs and Tories. 



221 



Poor Mrs. Ring! Her doom was sealed. From 
that time forward she was snubbed and shunned, but 
as she had paid her board for several weeks in ad- 
vance, according to tiie Miss Hingays' inflexible 
rule, they could not gracefully dismiss her from the 
house. What these estimable women suffered during 
this time no pen can portray. The worst of it was 
that she never seemed to understand that the snubs 
she received were intended as snubs. She would 
come to the table anil receive the most frigid recog- 
nition, or no recognition at all, and at once attempt 
a conversation with one of the people who had 
treated her the most (.ontemptuously. Rough-slwjd 
she rode over all that select household's traditions. 
With delicious humor she set off the peculiarities of 
the town, with every nook and corner of which she 
seemed to be actjuainting herself. 

"Whenever any of my friends after this develops 
into an excessive bore," she would say, " I shall tell 
him \.o go to Halifax^ where he will find no end of 
people of his own sort." She made fun of the 
houses, the carriages, the people's pretensions, 
even the redoubted military. She unearthed all 
the buried scandals of the town, opened cup- 
boards where the dismalest skeletons were hid, 
raked up old family and church quarrels, and some- 
how insisted on people's listening to whatever she 



222 



Talcs of a Garrison Town. 



^ 



m 






i.'j 






U! 



«i 



had to say; and the worst of it all was that the men 
who had begun by openly siding with the women 
against her soon secretly came to like her. In- 
deed, she was too dashing and her speech was too 
easy for men not to be attracted by her. 

Now the Miss Bingays had a younger brother, Mr. 
Russell Bingay, in whom, as the last male scion of 
the ancient house of Bingay, all their hopes were 
centred. He was a good-looking, brainless, beefy 
chap of forty-two who had never done a month's 
useful work in his life, for the good reason that he 
was too empty-headed and too indolent to keep a 
situation. In early life he had been sent to college, 
where he had wasted three years, taxed the patience 
of his professors beyond endurance, and squandered 
the little sum his father had left him. At last, as 
he could not or would not study, and with his fast 
life was bringing disgrace upon the college, he had 
been politely asked by the authorities to leave. 
This he had generously consented to do, and hence- 
forth had become chiefly dependent on his maiden 
sisters for his support. He was generally looked 
upon as the idlest man in Halifax; and his poor, 
patient sisters were the only persons who kept any 
faith in him whatever. 

Miss Priscilla, the keener-sighted of the two, was 
not as wholly satisfied with her brother as Miss 



Whigs ami Tories. 



223 



Margaret, for the latter never saw a fault in her 
beloved Russell. To her he was the handsomest 
and most sensible man in the world, and she was not 
able to comprehend how any one could think differ- 
ently concerning him. Miss Priscilla, too, had high 
hopes of him. She had gradually come to believe 
that he would never personally shed much lustre on 
the Bingay name, but she prophesied that by means 
of his good looks and high breeding he would cer- 
tainly some day make a brilliant match, and so 
atone for any lack of credit he had hitherto reflected 
on the family name. There had been a time when 
society had received Russell, notwithstanding his 
lack of brains and his notoriously bad habits; but as 
he grew in years, corpulence, and baldness, people 
gradually gave him up, and he found his chief com- 
panionship among men. At this period he was lodg- 
ing at a small house near — an arrangement he him- 
self had insisted on, for obvious reasons — and was 
taking his meals as usual at his sisters' table. 
He had, indeed, this much claim on his sisters for 
his support, that he owned a third interest in the 
Victoria Street house, which was now, except some 
worn furniture, all that remained to the family of 
their earlier fortune. 

When Mrs. Ring arrived in Halifax Russell was 
off on a yachting cruise, but he soon returned, and 



I 



224 



Talcs of a Garrison Town. 



:i* 












m 



m^\ 



m 



then the lady devoted herself almost exclusively to 
him. It was easy to see that the empty-pated fel- 
low was flattered by her attentions, and before long 
he and Mrs. Ring were seen everywhere together. 
Russell was not a person to remonstrate with, so his 
sisters said nothing to him, but the poor ladies be- 
gan to be frightened in earnest. 

A climax was naturally to be expected to this lit- 
tle comedy of the Bingay household, and it came 
speedily. One morning some stale Boston news- 
papers found their way into the Miss Bingays' pri- 
vate parlor, and the sisters sat down to read them. 
Suddenly Miss Priscilla's brow knitted and her can- 
non curls shook visibly as she drew the paper closer 
to her. 

" Margaret," she said in a tone that almost fright- 
ened her sister, who was looking over the society 
gossip and fashion notes of the weekly Transcript^ 
"read this." Miss Margaret took the newspaper 
from her sister and read: " Mrs. Ring, of Rosefield, 
who six months ago made herself notorious by insti- 
tuting divorce proceedings in the Supreme Court 
against her husband. Judge Ring, on the plea of 
incompatibility, has been granted her divorce, her 
husband offering no objection to the plea. It is 
understood that the lady is now in the British Prov- 
inces." 



: • i^ 



W/iigs and Tories. 



225 



Miss Margaret looked as if she would faint. 

"Outrageous!" said Miss Priscilla, nodding her 
head emphatically. 

"Shameful woman!" said Miss Margaret, echoing 
her sister's tone. 

"She must leave the house to-day!" said Miss 
Priscilla. 

"This very day!" echoed Miss Margaret, "To 
think of our having a divorced person here! You 
must go to her, Priscilla," said Miss Margaret. 

"Instantly!" said Miss Priscilla with determina- 
tion, rising and crushing the newspaper which con- 
tained the startling announcement in her hand; 
"instantly!" 

They went together, and found Mrs. Ring in her 
room. "Madam," said Miss Priscilla stiffly, hold- 
ing out the newspaper, " does this paragraph refer 
to you ?" 

Mrs. Ring took the Transcript and looked at the 
place indicated. "Certainly, it does," she replied, 
without the slightest embarrassment. " I am happy 
to say I was quite success^'ul in my suit." 

"Madam," said Miss Priscilla, "we have never 
had a divorced person in this house, and never can 
have. You must leave at once." 

A strangely amused look came into Mrs. Ring's 
face, but she sat still and fanned herself languidly, 



226 



Talcs of a Garrison Town, 



M 
• '■! 



I- 



W 






i li 



1 < i< 

II 






displaying, as she did so, her usual dazzling assort- 
ment of rings. 

"Really!" she said, after a pause. "What sub- 
lime virtue! You dear old pair of tabbies, you per- 
haps don't know that I've got something to say about 
this as well as yourselves. Hoity-toity! a pretty 
way this to treat a sister-in-law!" 

"A what!" shrieked Miss Margaret and Miss 
Priscilla in a breath. "Is the woman mad?" 

" Not quite," laughed Mrs. Ring carelessly; " per- 
haps I've less reason to be mad than yourselves. 
You couldn't turn me out of this house if you 
tried." 

" Was ever such effrontery !" gasped Miss Priscilla. 

" You poor old bundles of starch and whalebone, 
look at that!" and Mrs. Ring triumphantly took a 
paper from her bosom and opened it toward the 
astonished spinsters. 

They glared at it in horror. 

"A marriage certificate!" ejaculated Miss Mar- 
garet in a low and trembling voice; "that unhappy 
boy!" 

"You don't mean to say that you have married 
him?" exclaimed Miss Priscilla, sinking into a 
chair. 

" No, he has married me. There is the proof if 
you can read," replied the other calmly. "Come 



Whigs and Tories, 



227 



now, don't make fools of yourselves. Mrs. Russell 
Bingay has for a husband as good a Tory as the 
best of them, and as for herself, she is a Whig of 
the first water. I'd have you know that Colonel 
Higglesworth, of Gates' Revolutionary Army, was 
my great-grandfather. And, what's more, he helped 
whip old Burgoyneat Saratoga — where, I fancy, some 
of your ancestors didn't figure to advantage. Pshaw ! 
your plaguy old Loyalists were a lot of simpletons. 
Much King George cared for them! Left them to 
starve in this God-forsaken country. Halifax — h'm! 
Do )'ou know what 'go to Halifax* means with us? 
But that's not to the point. You see, Russell has 
a third interest herewith you, and I've a consider- 
able interest in him. So it's quite impossible for 
you to turn me out. Now, let us solve the diffi- 
culty without any big bass-drum." 

Miss Priscilla's form grew rigid. " Either you or 
we must leave," she said with frigid emphasis, 
grasping Miss Margaret's hand, which trembled vio- 
lently, in her own. " If you have married our 
brother you must have him, I suppose, but you shall 
not longer have the chance of insulting vs.'* 

"Well," said Mrs. Ring, contemplatively nipping 
the edge of her fan, "I'm sorry you take my little 
remarks that way. You are quite too sensitive, my 
dear sister?-in-law. Now your brother is a man of 



?:f 



228 



Talcs of a Garrison Town, 



i 



\v. 



s); ■ 






HI 



1:1 

I: 



sense, even if he can't be called brilliant. What 
do you intend to do?" 

At this practical question the sisters were taken 
quite aback. 

"We will buy you out," Miss Priscilla at length 
managed to say. 

" But suppose we woii't be bought out ?" answered 
the new-made Mrs. Bingay. 

"Then I suppose we shall have to give you the 
house and let you do with it what you like," said 
Miss Margaret in desperation. 

Mrs. Russell laughed. "You poor, unpractical 
things! Who wants your pokey old house, with its 
musty furniture? As for your dingy pictures — that 
you are so proud of — I wouldn't give one of Cousin 
George Leech's waterscapes for the whole batch of 
them. But if you make me angry you'll find I'm 
as good a fighter as my great-grandfather, Colonel 
Higglesworth. For the present, stay here I zi'v//, 
and you can put up with it or not, just as you 
please." Mrs. Ring calmly took up her novel 
again and began to read, while Miss Margaret and 
Miss Priscilla beat a crestfallen retreat. 

Poor lone spinsters! Russell's treachery had 
struck a blow at their tenderest susceptibilities and 
most cherished hopes. Of course there was nothing 
for them to do but to vacate the premises. 



Whigs and Tories. 



229 



" I wish we could leave Halifax," sighed Miss 
Priscilla when they had gained their own room. 

"It will be an undying scandal," wept Miss Mar- 
garet. 

"Is there no way to dispossess her?" she con- 
tinued after a pause. 

" No, unless we go to law." 

" And have it all come out in the papers!" 

l)Oth shuddered. 

Th.e Miss Bingays had never in their lives been 
in England, but they always spoke of it as "home," 
and it had always been the dearest wish of their 
hearts to go there. Tiiis wish had been greatly 
intensified by the marriage, rather late in life, some 
ten years before, of a favorite cousin on their moth- 
er's side to an English widower of means, who had 
the name of being very generous and who had 
treated them always, as his wife's relations, with 
great consideration. " If we could only go to Eng- 
land," they said, "and get away from this dreadful 
disgrace!" 

Then the question of their future course assumed 
more practical aspects. For two days they dis- 
cussed plans for engaging as hospital nurses, for 
doing dressmaking, for opening a smaller boarding- 
house on credit, but neither of these seemed fea- 
sible. 



230 



Talcs of a Garrison Town, 






% 



On the third day the difficult knot was cut most 
unexpectedly by Mrs. Bingay herself. Late in the 
afternoon the lady called and requested to see 
her "sisters-in-law." At first they positively re- 
fused to come down, but Mrs. Russell Bingay was not 
to be put aside. " They 7£v7/ see me, too," she re- 
plied, with determination, and at length, much to 
their dispfi'st, Miss Margaret and Miss Priscilla 
were forced to receive her. 

"Fine sisters-in-law you are, I must say!" were 
the first words that greeted them from the new-made 
bride. 

Neither said a *, ord, and Mrs. Bingay continued: 
"I come from Russc"! '^> tell you that he is willing 
to buy out your ini'irt.vi ip the house. He natu- 
rally feels that you have acted badly toward him, or 
he would have come himself." 

"Russell buy us out!" exclaimed Miss Priscilla. 
"Why, he hasn't a cent in the world!" 

" And you blame me for taking pity on the poor 
wretch! You ought to thank me for relieving you of 
an incubus. If I hadn't had money myself, do you 
think I would have married him? I didn't marry 
Russell for his business ability, you may rest assured 
of that. But he suits me very well, notwithstand- 
ing, and I suit him. He will never earn anything, 
but fortunately I have money enough for us bpth," 



W/ti^s and Tories. 



231 



and Mrs. Bingay pursed her lips and folded her 
hands on her lap. 

"And you — you are goinj^ to buy us out!" fal- 
tered Miss Priscilla. 

" Yes, /. I put it first in the name of Russell, as 
perhaps a little more business-like, but / am the 
power behind the throne. You shall have every 
penny the old rattle-trap is worth and all the rub- 
bishy pictures in the bargain. Now that the trilo- 
bites (I mean your boarders) are all cleared out of 
it, I am going to take the place in hand and im- 
prove it. I'm going to paint, kalsomine, and fresco 
it from top to bottom, and have a conservatory built 
on the east side, and maybe by the end of next year 
it will look a little less like a Noah's ark. Don't 
stare as if you saw a ghost — I mean it! And I don't 
mind, if you'll only keep your tongues still, giving 
you rooms there when I get things all arranged. 
Considering the way you've treated me, I call that 
uncommonly generous." 

"Go back!" cried Miss Priscilla, looking at her 
sister; "not for worlds!" 

"Never!" replied Miss Margaret, returning the 
glance. 

" As you please. I've made the offer and it won't 
be made again. To tell you the truth, I'd much 
rather not have you, but you're Russell's relations 



232 



Tales of a Garrison Toivn, 



I 



11^ 



m 

m. 






f!i I • 



r''. i 



V ■■ 




ply' J ■»■ 




; 




i 



and minr^ and I never go hack on my belongings. 
On the whole, I like your spirit; I wouldn't go back 
if I were you. You'll have enough money when 
you get your share of the property to go where you 
like and live comfortably on the interest. I've 
been to two real estate agents, and they say that the 
property is worth about fifteen thousand dollars. 
That will leave ten for your share. Now I can let 
you into a good investment that will net you eight per 
cent secured. I've got twenty thousand in it myself. 
That will be four hundred dollars apiece. It's not 
much, but it will be enough for you. And I don't 
object to Russell's helping it out now and then if 
you run short. I don't intend to let him have full 
swing of my money, but on an occasion of that kind I 
should be willing to have him do something. Well, 
I guess I'm about through. If you're not satisfied 
with the price, get your own real estate men and 
we'll talk the matter over. But ten thousand is, / 
think, all your share is worth. Good-by, sisters- 
in-law; if we don't love each other, we needn't snap 
each other's heads off. And I think it would be 
decidedly becoming in you to make up with Rus- 
sell. You had better let me send him round." Then, 
before the astonished sisters could reply, Mrs. Bingay 
had bustled from the room. 

The Miss Bingays watched the woman, in open- 



Whigs and Tories, 



233 






mouthed silence, as with a bold, quick step she 
crossed the street and walked up the opposite side- 
walk. Then Miss Margaret flung herself into Miss 
Priscilla's arms and burst into tears. "The vul- 
garity, the effrontery!" cried Miss Priscilla. 

"And the wonder of it is that the wretch has a 
heart," sobbed Miss Margaret. 

" A heart? A gizzard, I should say," sniffed Miss 
Priscilla, "but" — here she broke out crying in sym- 
pathy — "she's got common honesty if she is a Yan- 
kee divorcee.'' 

"O Russell, you ungrateful boy, how \ pity you!" 
exclaimed Miss Margaret. 

"I don't. He will never realize that it serves 
him right," snapped her sister unforgivingly. 

"Will you take her hateful money?" asked Miss 
Margaret anxiously. 

" I don't know. 'I'hc th ught of it almost turns 
me sick!" 

l>ut they did take it and ti ucd their faces toward 
England. Almost the last t ng they saw on leav- 
ing was the exuberant form of Mrs. Russell Bingay, 
as, leaning on her husband's arm, she waved her blue 
veil to them in adieu. 

" She's got him soul and body," said Miss Margaret 
mournfully. 



234 



Tales of a Garrison Toivn, 






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Nil 



"Yes," answered Miss Priscilla,' struggling hard 
to hide her tears, "and she's ruined the family!" 

After which Halifax saw the Miss Bingays no 
more. 



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A SOLDIERS FUNERAL. 



15 



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I 



A SOLDIER'S FUNERAL. 



MixTER and Moors were chums. All the regi- 
ment knew of their affection for each other. Tliey 
were youngish fellows still, although they had been 
in the service at least twenty years, and had 
travelled half round the world under the colors of 
the Lincoln Oreys. For two years now they had 
been cooped up in the old North Barracks at Hali- 
fax, pipe-claying leathers, mounting guard, and 
going through the daily drill; but they had seen 
much sterner service than this. Brave fellows they 
were, as had been proved on many a tough-fought 
field in Asia and Africa, where they had battled 
against foes of all complexion^, and habits of war- 
fare, from the sallow hill-tribes of India and Af- 
ghanistan, with their provoking fashion of shoot- 
ing at you from the top of a rock, to the woolly- 
haired Soudanese, who, in an opposite yet equally 
unpleasant way of fighting, disregarding your bul- 
let, rush at you with poisoned spears. 

The two men had come from the same village 

and had known each other almost from birth. Long 

237 



238 



Talcs of a Garrison Toivn. 



ir; 






in 

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before either of them had dreamed of taking the 
queen's shilling and wearing her uniform, when 
they were growing boys, they had sworn a sort of 
callow oath, as young chaps sometimes will, to 
spend their lives near together. This much all the 
regiment knew, but there were things between them 
that none of their fellow-soldiers ever knew until 
the time at which this story begins. 

Now, spared from the bullet of the Afghan and 
the assegai of the Zulu, having escaped from the 
deadly tropic fever and the withering heat of the 
Soudan, Moors; limp as a linen rag, an awful 
pallor showing through the bronze on his sunken 
cheek, lay on a pallet in the long ward of the mili- 
tary hospital, and Mixter sat beside him. The 
doctor said it was consumption, but Mixter knew 
better. Moors was slowly dying of a broken heart. 
In the old Warwickshire days, before either had 
made much of a start in life, both men had loved 
and courted the same girl — a farmer's pretty daugh- 
ter, blithe Bessie Beacham. It was the first thing 
that had ever disturbed the bosom friendship of these 
lusty, stalwart, honest youths; but when men know 
themselves to be rivals for the affections of a pretty 
girl, no matter how good friends they may have 
been in the past, there is sure to be bad blood, very 
bad blood, between them. The course of true love 



A Soldier s Funeral. 



239 



did not run smooth with the girl either. People 
said she did not know her own mind, but though 
she seemed to most people to be more strongly 
encouraging Mixter, at last she gave her promise to 
Moors, and they were married. Then there were 
hot words between the men, and an open quarrel 
with blows struck; after which Mixter went sullenly 
away and was not heard from again. 

Soon Moors found out by accident what, in the 
blindness of his passion, he had never seen — that his 
wife really loved Mixter, and had married him in 
pique. She and Mixter had had a quarrel, and 
Moors' jealousy had fanned the flame of her wrath; 
and so, before the fire had cooled, she was Moors' 
wife. With an anguished heart he saw the color 
daily fade from her cheek, saw her step grow more 
and more languid, her eye less and less bright, 
until, when the time came for her to give birth to 
her child, she was a mere wreck of her former self. 

Nine months after their marriage, her baby yet 
unborn, pretty Bessie Beacham was dead. The 
slender, fragrant plant of her womanhood was not 
strong enough to blossom, and so withered away. 
Moors buried her and laid all his hope and happi- 
ness in her grave. Then his heart went out in 
yearning to his early friend — the friend whom he 
had loved with more than a brother's love, but whom 



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Tales of a Garrison Town. 



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he had unwittingly and, as he knew now, selfishly, 
robbed of a happiness that was rightly his. Remorse- 
fully he sold his simple belongings, and with a few 
pounds in his pocket and with a locket on his 
breast, in which lay hid a braid of Bessie's flaxen 
hair, went to seek his friend. 

Mixter had gone to the Continent. He knew this 
much; he might be dead — no one could say to the 
contrary — or he might have found work in some 
town or city where Englishmen were most in the 
habit of going. He had no clew, but he resolved 
if Mixter were living to find him, or if he were 
dead to find his grave. Mixter had been a fellow 
of strong passions, and in desperation might have 
taken to drink. This was what Moors feared most, 
and the knowledge that if his old friend had sunk 
into dissipation he was in a measure responsible for 
it nerved him more than any other consideration for 
his difficult task. 

After several weeks, in the streets of Paris he 
came one night upon a crowd following two stout 
^endannes^ who were carrying rather than leading a 
man raving in delirium tremens. In the bloated 
face and rolling, bloodshot eyes and the tone of the 
voice, Moors with horror recognized his old com- 
panion. Amid the rabble of men and boys he 
followed to the gate of the cofuiergerie^ and there 



A Soldier s Funeral, 



241 



saw with a sinking of the heart the great, pitiless 
bars close upon the friend he had come to save. 
After several unsuccessful efforts he gained admis- 
sion to Mixter's cell, and found him weak, sullen, 
and despairing. At first the prisoner turned from 
him; but the persistent kindness of his friend and 
the touching story he brought him finally won him, 
and Mixter left the prison once more a man. Moors 
took him to his own humble lodging, shared his bed 
with him, got work for both, followed his friend 
like his shadow, helped him fight the demon of 
drink, and so at last brought him back to his old 
self. 

But a restless desire to see more of the world pos- 
sessed them both. Bound together as with hooks of 
steel in the bonds of old association and of a com- 
mon grief, always poor yet ever together, working 
at any honest job they could get, and picking up 
all sorts of knowledge of the world, they travelled 
from the Tagus to the Vistula. After three years 
of this aimless life a yearning seized them for home, 
and back they came to England to kneel together at 
Bessie's grave. Expending their little united sav- 
ings almost to the last farthing on a plain marble 
headstone, planting a rose-tree at her feet, and 
sprinkling blue forget-me-nots over her breast, 
with red and swollen eyes they turned their faces 



242 



Tales of a Garrison Town. 









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toward Southampton. They had hope of getting 
work in the dockyards until they should earn money 
enough to take them to America; but the only per- 
son there who wanted men of their condition was 
Her Majesty. Every one else had laborers enough. 
So to Her Majesty's scarlet-coated representative 
they applied, took each his shilling, and were mus- 
tered into Company A of the Lincoln Greys, who 
were then about to embark for the East. 

After eighteen years of trying service in that part 
of the world they came with the regiment to Hali- 
fax, having never once been separated, having never 
had a thought except in common — on them both 
the shadow of a deep grief which chastened their 
souls and made them gentle and courteous in their 
rude way to each other and to all their fellow-sol- 
diers. They were never boisterous, seldom gay, 
yet were thoroughly liked the regiment through. 
No better men had stood shoulder to shoulder 
at Tel-el-Kebir or had escaped the slaughter of 
Maiwand. None better deserved promotion for 
soldierly bearing in barracks or camp, yet neither 
desired or would take promotion, save with his com- 
rade. So they had remained privates, and privates 
they were still content to be. 

Now Moors was dying of "consumption." Not 
even the strong ties of friendship could pluck him 



A Soldier s Funeral. 



243 



from the grave. He lay listlessly on his pillow, 
and his hand frequently went to the little gold 
locket on his breast, as if he feared that he would 
miss his grasp of it when he died. Mixter sat by 
the narrow hospital pallet where his friend lay, 
dejected and silent. The Colonel, knowing the 
affection between the two men, had generously 
granted him relief from duty while Moors lay upon 
his death-bed; and so Mi.xter was constant in 
attendance at his comrade's side. He almost 
wearied the regimental doctor with inquiries about 
him, although he knew the case was hopeless. He 
spent all his soldier's pittance to buy little deli- 
cacies for the sick man, even when he knew that 
Moors could not eat them. He forestalled the 
hospital nurses in all the petty attentions which a 
sick man needs. A mother could not have watched 
over her child with more assiduous and loving 
care than did Mixter over Moors. No word of 
endearment had ever passed between the men; they 
had never kissed each other, like Germans or 
Frenchmen. They kept their feelings well in 
check, as if they were too holy to be openly dis- 
played, but the warm, generous, manly English 
blood had often surged up in their breasts and 
choked their utterance, only betraying itself, how- 
ever, by a warmer hand-clasp or a kindling glance 



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Tales of a Garrison Town, 



of the eye. And Moors was dying. Before the 
day should fade his sands of life would be run, and 
then for Mixter there would be no more of his 
friend than six feet of cold clay. A shiver ran 
through the watcher as he thought of it. Then, 
looking at Moors, he found him gazing wistfully 
into his face. The sick man's blue lips parted, 
and his voice came huskily. 

"YeMl leave her locket around my neck, won't 
ye, Mixter?" he said slowly. "All the rest o' my 
kit is yours." 

Mi> ter nodded his head. 

*' iTe loved her, ye know, boy; an' it might seem 
tf ye that I wouldn't miss it when I'm laid out yon- 
(er; but I've worn it night an* day ever since I 
laid her to rest, an' it 'ud seem to me as I might 
r ever find her in the oth world if I hadn't my 
Ijcket with me with her hair. Ye won't mind a 
poor sick man's notions, Mixter?" 

Mixter moved uneasily on his chair. "Noo," he 
said simply, looking down. 

"Ye'll gie me yer han' on that, boy?" said the 
other, with a dying man's jealous care. 

Mixter silently placed his big, strong hand in the 
weak, fleshless grasp of the other. 

"Ye're a trump, Mixter!" replied Moors, as he 
sank back exhausted on his pillow. 



A Soldier* s FuneraL 



245 



a 



In the waning afternoon Mixter continued to sit 
motionless by his friend's side while the latter 
slowly sank. The dying man's breath grew more 
and more labored, and at irregular intervals a spasm 
of pain surged over his body and shook rudely the 
last fleeting sands of life. It was growing quite 
dusk, when Moors, who had just come out of one 
of these preliminary death-throes, turned his face 
toward his still silent companion. His hand, yet in 
the grasp of his friend, trembled a little. 

" Ye needn't mind what I said, Mixter, a little 
while ago," he whispered. "She's in peace — (iod 
love her! an' I'll soon be there. An' the locket 
may comfort ye, boy, in the long days to come. 

An' — an' she loved ye, she did; an' " But his 

head fell back suddenly, and there was a rattling in 
his throat. The watcher bent down over him and 
raised him in his arms. The two men took one 
long look at each other, and then with a sigh the 
spirit went from Moors. 

Mixter tenderly laid the body down and closed 
the eyes. 

Then he rose up with clinched fists, and some- 
thing like an oath, for the first time in years, passed 
his lips. Breathing hard, he took his cap mechani- 
cally, and with a tearless eye walked slowly out of 
the room, his head dropped upon his breast. 



If 



246 



Talcs of a Garrison Town, 



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I'l'i 



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" He takes it badly, does Mixter," muttered the 
next patient, eying the corpse askance. 

Moors was laid out for burial, and Mixter, who 
had refused all offers of others to sit out the night 
by the body, was alone in the room to which the 
remains had been moved preliminary to the last 
rites. 

A shaded lamp cast a dim glow around, and 
indistinctly showed the plain coffin and the rigid 
form in it, dressed in the regimentals he was accus- 
tomed to wear on parade. Mixter looked down at the 
white, placid face. His own face had grown hag- 
gard and his hair perceptibly grayer during his long 
vigil, and the lines around his mouth were patheti- 
cally rigid. After a time he bent down and slowly 
opened the dead man's uniform. There was the 
locket, yet lying on that breast which had once been 
so warm to him — that breast which was now insen- 
sible forever to either pleasure or pain. No! it was 
not robbing the dead to take it. Moors had given 
it to him with almost his last breath. How beau- 
tifully ic gleamed up at him — the only bright object 
in that scene of gloom! He put his hand under 
the little blue ribbon that held it and disengaged 
it from the neck of the corpse; and as with a thrill 
of joy he grasped it in his fingers, the clasp 
opened, and there lay her hair — the hair of 



A Soldier' s Funeral. 



247 



her who had loved him, yet had married another. 
He had not looked upon Bessie's hair for twenty 
years, and here it was before him as though it had 
been cut yesterday from her brow. He opened the 
inner glass that held it in place, and fondled it 
with his big, coarse, bony fingers; then he quietly re- 
placed it, shut the locket, and put it in the breast- 
pocket of his coat. Yet as he buttoned again the 
uniform of his dead friend he felt almost as though 
he had committed sacrilege. 

"He doesn't need it, poor chap," he muttered in 
excuse, wiping his brow. 

Every garrison-town knows well the sound of the 
muffled drum beating the time of the Dead March 
to the slow tramp, tramp of the regimental battal- 
ion as it follows a comrade to the grave. A sol- 
dier's funeral has always a sad and solemn, as well 
as picturesque, interest for passing civilians, who 
invariably stop and wait for the simple yet impos- 
ing procession to go by. There is something inde- 
scribably pathetic in the sight of the low gun-carriage 
on which a private's coffin is borne, draped simply 
with the old flag, and followed, with slow, regular 
steps and reversed arms, by the dead man's silent 
comrades — men who have perhaps shared with him 
in past days untold privations and narrow escapes 
from ]eath. 



248 



Talcs of a Garrison Town, 



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From the old North Barracks to the military 
burying-ground in the southwestern part of Hali- 
fax marched the sad funeral procession of Private 
Moors. Close behind the coffm, his bronzed face 
deathly pale and his eyes sunken and bloodshot, 
not seeming to heed anything but the low gun-car- 
riage and its melancholy freight, with unsteady 
steps walked Mixter of the Greys. As a special 
favor he had been allowed, as chief mourner, to 
walk by himself and without his rifle. Every now 
and then his big, brawny chest would heave with 
suppressed emotion, and his hands would clinch 
and the lines of his mouth harden as though he 
suffered intense pain. As the procession entered 
the cemetery-gates he tottered, but, steadying him- 
self with an effort, walked on to the grave. The 
Chaplain had just begun: *^ Man that is born of 
woman hath but a short time to live and is full of 
misery," when a deep groan broke from Mixter, 
which it was heartrending to hear; and as the com- 
mittal words were said — " Earth to earth, ashes to 
ashes, dust to dust" — and the first clods fell on the 
coffin below, he stretched out his arm. "Stop!" he 
exclaimed, in a hoarse, unnatural voice and with a 
convulsed face; and the men paused in their task. 
With a violent motion he snatched a glittering oval 
thing from his pockety and with a trembling hand 



A Soldier* s Funeral. 



249 



held it by its faded blue ribbon over the open 
grave. 

"I must gie it back to him!" he cried passion- 
ately; "it's Bessie's hair, an' he's worn it for the 
last twenty years. He gied it to me; it's mine; 
but I daren't keep it — I daren't keep it! Will ye 
not let me gie him back Bessie's hair?" he asked 
in a strained, entreating tone, looking earnestly into 
the faces of his comrades. They hesitated, at a loss 
what to do; but the sergeant in command made a 
sign, and they lifted the coflin and laid it again on 
the grass 

"Take the cover off for him, men!" said the Ser- 
geant. 

They opened the coffin, and Mixter bent his shak- 
ing knees beside it. 

"Take it, poor chap!" he said, in an agonized 
voice, as he slipped the ribbon round the dead 
man's neck; "take it! Ye said ye'd miss it if ye 
went to her without it, an' ye shan't accuse me 
when we come before the face o' God. Ye loved 
her, man, better than a mother, belike. Ye was 
good to her. God bless ye for it! Ay, ye won her 
fairly, boy; ye won her fairly," and his words 
ended in a great dry sob. 

Reverently and with a trembling hand he laid the 
locket upon the still breast. Then he moved grop- 



250 



Talcs of a Garrison Town, 









H' 



ingly with his hands, and his sight failed him. A 
spasm of anguish seized him and he attempted to 
rise, but stumbled and fell forward over the body of 
his friend. They lifted him quickly and turned 
his face up to the sun, but in it was no sign of life. 
The color had again faded from the worn features 
and left them ghastly pale. A soldier stepped for- 
ward and laid his ear against Mixter's heart. 

"How is it, Jervis?" asked the Sergeant in a 
low tone. 

"Dead, sir!" answered Jervis, after a minute's 
pause. 

The Sergeant turned away with a cough that 
sounded very like a sob. The men crowded around 
with awe-struck faces, but not a word was said. 

Mixter had gone to join Moors and Bessie in the 
Great Beyond. 






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